Winter storm expected to cause flooding, power outages in Long Beach


Just days after a powerful nor’easter caused significant flooding and power outages in parts of Long Beach, another winter storm was expected to hit on Wednesday and Thursday.

The National Weather Service declared a winter storm warning for southern Nassau County until 4 a.m. Thursday and called for 3 to 7 inches of wet, heavy snow.

The Long Beach School District closed Wednesday, as well as the city's Youth and Family Services classes. The Magnolia Community Center Day Care and Senior Center were open, but programs might be canceled as the snow accumulates, according to the city’s website.

City Council President Anthony Eramo said Department of Public Works crews were out in full force salting roads and clearing storm drains.

“The crews are making sure the drains are clear and taking a look at the tideflex valves to make sure they’re functioning properly,” Eramo said, adding that some of the valves are clogged with debris.

“We shouldn't see flooding like last week,” he added. “We’re expecting tides to be two-feet lower than they were last week.”

The high tides last week caused significant flooding in many low-lying areas like the West End, the Canals and the North Park area, residents said. The tail end of the storm on March 2 brought dangerous wind gusts of up to 60 mph. The city built temporary berms along the beach in advance of the storms to prevent flooding from the ocean side.

Wednesday's storm came days after parts of Long Island saw as much as 4 inches of rain in last week’s nor’easter, Newsday reported. The Long Beach Fire Department responded to 28 emergency calls during last week's storm, fire officials said.

“We got calls for wires hanging low, and some transformers blew,” Fire Chief Joe Miller said on March 2, adding that parts of the West End were temporarily without power.

The Fire Department would continue to keep an eye on the weather in anticipation of snow on Wednesday, Miller said Monday.

Kevin Reilly, vice president of the North East Bay and Canals Civic Association, said streets were flooded on March 3 and some houses lost power for about 10 minutes.

“I think all of the Canal streets had water at the end of them,” Reilly said, and many residents said that tideflex valves were ineffective.

“We don’t have much luck with the tideflex valves here in the Canals — they never work for us,” he said.

Reilly also said that trees fell during the high winds, and a neighbor’s basketball hoop fell on his car and caused damage to the hood.

While there were no major incidents during last week's storm, Miller said, firefighters rushed to a house fire in West Atlantic Beach on March 3 at around 5 a.m. The second and third floors of the three-story Bay Boulevard house were filled with heavy smoke, he added.

“We’re guessing it was some sort of electrical issue [relating to] the storm the day before, when power went out,” Miller said.

The fire most likely started from the generator, he explained, and was quickly extinguished after four residents in the house were safely evacuated. There were no reported injuries.

Miller also said the LBFD was called to Island Park on Saturday to assist the Island Park Fire Department in retrieving a group of people who were stranded in a car in a flooded area near Bridgeview Yacht Club. The LBFD used their high-axle vehicle to help the people out of the car and brought them to dry land, he said.

The city said on its website on last week that officials were coordinating with New York State, Nassau County, PSEG and National Grid to prepare for the rain and flooding and encouraged residents to read the emergency preparedness information.

“We do expect some high winds, and there were spotted outages last week,” Eramo said. “PSEG had us back up and running very quickly.”

The city said it has put a focus on large-scale resiliency projects since Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012, including securing funding for bulkhead improvements along the bay, installing the tideflex valves to minimize flooding and upgrading the sewer and drainage systems, among other initiatives.