A week after Hurricane Sandy lashed the South Shore with a 10-foot storm surge and hurricane-force wind gusts, Long Island Power Authority officials said on Nov. 5 that the utility had restored power to 675,000 of the 1.2 million customers who lost their electricity in the storm.
But the majority of Bellmore-Merrick residents south of Merrick Road were not among those who had their lights turned back on, even though many, if not most, parts of the Bellmores and Merricks north of Merrick Road had electricity.
Some 370,000 LIPA customers remained without power a full seven days after Sandy struck, many in low-lying areas that flooded during the storm, including south Bellmore and south Merrick. And for those in flooded areas, it could be Nov. 7, if not later, before power would restored, knowledgeable sources said at press time. Potentially complicating restoration efforts was a nor’easter that was churning up the Eastern Seaboard toward Long Island as the Herald went to press.
Ben and Ilissa Schoenberg of south Merrick were among the hundreds of local residents still in their homes without heat and electricity. They were elated, they said, when Levy-Lakeside Elementary School opened on Tuesday so they could send their 11-year-old daughter, Gabrielle, somewhere warm.
“It’s like the ice age,” said Ben on Tuesday morning, when the temperature inside his home had plummeted to 55 degrees. “It’s been awful. It’s very disruptive. I wish I was in an igloo. It would probably be warmer.”
Ilissa’s mother, Joanne Henry, lives in Long Beach and was displaced by Sandy. She came to live with her daughter after the storm struck. “It was going from worse to bad,” she said. “It’s horrible. I lived in Oceanside [before Long Beach]. I’ve been evacuated. I’ve had flood damage. But this is unbelievable.”
Diane Arcos of Centre Avenue, a block south of Merrick Road, was among the south Bellmore residents who were in the dark as of Monday. A 35-foot oak tree had crashed into her home, which has been in her family for 50 years, as Sandy sent three to five feet of water rushing into her neighborhood — which, Arcos said, normally does not flood in big storms.