Low-lying areas of Glen Cove are still recovering from flood damage two weeks after what was left of Hurricane Ida pummeled the area. On Sept. 1, water flooded parking lots and basements, causing extensive damage to Police Department headquarters on Bridge Street and the Public Library on Glen Cove Avenue, as well as other areas of the city, prompting a cleanup effort that is still under way.
“It’s a real mess,” Detective Lt. John Nagle, of the Police Department, said. “The entire basement was destroyed.”
According to Nagle, more than eight feet of floodwater filled the basement and came up the stairs to the main desk area. Because of the water damage, the phone system was down and the power backup systems failed. The basement gym was ruined, as were some of the records stored on that floor, which will now have to be disposed of, either by shredding or burning.
Those who were on duty that night watched the water pour into the building, but managed to dispatch incoming calls through the 911 system, Nagle explained. The internal phone system should be up and running soon, he added.
The intensity of the storm and the volume of rain were a particularly bad combination for the station, which is across the street from the hill on Continental Place and sits atop an underground stream. The water poured down the hill, Nagle said, which added to the flooding in the surrounding parking lots, and simply couldn’t be pumped out fast enough.
“That storm set a record,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like it before. It was quite a night.”
Ida was also a major blow to the library. Not only did it force the facility’s closure, like the pandemic that preceded it, but amid the social distancing protocols that were in place, most of the furniture had been moved to the basement. Now it’s all gone.
According to library Director Kathie Flynn, half of the basement had about four feet of water in it, and walls and floors will need to be replaced. Water came up the ramp from the parking lot to the rear entrance and seeped inside. “It drenched our back office,” Flynn said. “But the entranceway is my main concern.”
She said she was working with Glen Floors to get the hallway floors replaced, and as soon as that happens, the building can reopen.
As far as materials go — books, CDs and DVDs — everything was fine, because the water did not reach the main floor. “We were lucky with that,” Flynn said.
On Wednesday, the library began offering curbside for those wanting to check out materials.
Flynn said that the parking lot and the grading of the land needed to be improved, which the city was working on, with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“Hopefully we don’t have to go through that again,” Flynn said. “With the pandemic and now this, it’s just been so hard.”
Last week, the city confirmed that federal disaster assistance was available to Nassau County to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the storm from Sept. 1 to 3. According to Mayor Tim Tenke, county officials contacted his office about totaling up the damage so the city could qualify for FEMA assistance. Over the course of three days, about 75 residents and 15 businesses submitted damage claims.
“We walked residents through the system, and helped Nassau County meet the threshold,” Tenke said.
Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover. Those who sustained losses can apply for assistance by registering at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling (800) 621-3362 or (800) 462-7585 TTY.
Lou Saulino, Glen Cove’s director of public works, said that roads were washed out and buildings flooded across the city, from the parks to city-owned property downtown. A tree that was uprooted near a staircase in Morgan Park caused the steps to crumble, leaving a gaping hole.
“It wrought havoc,” Saulino said of the storm. As of Tuesday, he said, FEMA had evaluated most of locations that were damaged, and offered measures to make sure the public is safe.
Ida, Saulino said, was a 500-year storm. “It’s not something you can plan for or fix easily,” he said.
As a result, improvement projects have been delayed as the city’s various departments focus on the cleanup. The city and county, Saulino said, were working together to rectify some of the issues, and his department was putting together paperwork for FEMA reimbursement.
“This has not been easy,” Saulino said, “and I really feel for the residents.”