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Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Weather
Long Island rebuilding in Sandy's wake
A battered and bruised South Shore taking recovery step by step
Bill Kelly/Herald
Crews waited to head out in Oceanside.

The superstorm called Hurricane Sandy will surely go down as one of the U.S.’s most costly and crippling storms, ripping a $20 billion swath of destruction up the Eastern Seaboard, and Long Island’s South Shore was front and center amid the tumult as Sandy’s northern end lashed communities from Bellmore to Valley Stream and from Long Beach to Rockville Centre.

Now, after the flooding and the fires, the anxiety and fear, the South Shore must slowly rebuild, one home, one school, one business at a time.

Getting the power back on

The first order of business in the days after Sandy was to restore power. Without electricity, there could be no rebuilding effort.

As soon as the storm subsided on Tuesday, restoration crews hired by the Long Island Power Authority, many coming from as far away as Tennessee and Michigan, raced across the area, assessing the extent of the damage while Town of Hempstead and village crews cut up downed trees that had smashed through power lines. Electricity could not be restored, LIPA officials said, until trees were cleared in order to ensure the safety of the crews working on the power lines.

According to officials, the Town of Hempstead had cleared more than 600 downed trees as of Wednesday, with 400 more to be removed.

LIPA issued a statement on its website on Wednesday. “It’s just a short time since the worst of Hurricane Sandy, and the monumental task of debris removal and damage assessment is well under way,” it read. “Significant efforts are also under way to repair the backbone of the electric system, which includes the high-voltage power lines and the substations that distribute power to local communities.”

According to the utility, homes near the electric grid’s critical components would be restored sooner rather than later, while homes farther from high-voltage lines and substations would have to wait longer for power.

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