Recovery Underway After Ida Floods Parts of Long Island

Gov. Kathy Hochul holds news conference in Great Neck. (Courtesy Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul)

Damage assessment and recovery are underway on Long Island after Tropical Depression Ida, the overnight storm that produced record inches of rainfall in parts of the North Shore on Wednesday night into early Thursday morning.

About three inches of rain fell in a one-hour timeframe — and five inches total — on the North Shore, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said during a Thursday morning news conference. The North Shore saw the most rain and flooding, while the South Shore saw significantly less, local officials said.

“That is the most amount of rain in one hour since records have been kept,” she said. “We have many residents now dealing with the aftermath.”

Gov. Kathy Hochul visited the Village of Great Neck early Thursday afternoon while Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) crews worked to get the Long Island Rail Road’s Port Washington line running again. Both the Port Washington and Oyster Bay LIRR lines were impacted by the flooding but were expected to be operating again by Thursday afternoon.

“There was an unbelievable amount of rainfall in an incredibly short amount of time,” Hochul said. “It was literally Niagara Falls here — that’s what the staircase looked like here.”

Hochul sought to assure hard-hit communities, including business owners and homeowners whose properties flooded, that President Joe Biden would commit emergency federal funds to help with the damage. She signed a request for a federal emergency declaration for 14 counties, including Nassau and Suffolk, for damage from the remnants of Ida, which several days earlier hit the Gulf Coast as a hurricane.

Overnight, first responders rescued people and recovered vehicles from waters in both Nassau and Suffolk counties. Curran said that the county’s emergency service units recovered 20 cars, responded to 25 roadway accidents, and rescued one resident from a vehicle in Sea Cliff and another from a home in Great Neck. Other municipalities had rescue crews working overnight, as well.

Power was out for thousands of customers during the storm, but was quickly restored for most by Thursday afternoon, local officials reported.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone also reported that 12 residents needed to be evacuated from their homes, were safely taken to Huntington Fire Department, and later, brought to a hotel for shelter during the storm.

“We took a number of calls that overflowed from Nassau County and calls from the city, which is extraordinarily rare. I’ve never seen that, where we were taking 911 calls from NYC residents,” Bellone said. “It speaks to the devastation of this storm and how quickly it came in and how it surprised people. 

“Fortunately we did not receive the brunt of this storm but this really was a devastating storm in many ways that people were not prepared for and did not expect,” he said. “We are still assessing the property damage.”

In Brooklyn and Queens, 13 people have been confirmed dead from flooding as a result of Ida.

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