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Thousands still without power on South Shore as clean-up begins

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Tropical Storm Isaias slammed into the South Shore Tuesday afternoon with a short, sharp fury that downed hundreds of trees, tearing up sidewalks, blocking roads and smashing the roofs of dozens of houses.

At noon today, nearly 2,000 outages throughout the area were still being addressed, according to PSEG, affecting more than 16,000 users from Levittown to Jones Beach, including the Covid-19 testing facilities at Jones Beach State Park.

Nearly 900 outages were reported in Seaford, leaving about 4,700 users without power. Wantagh fared better, with roughly 100 outages remaining, affecting more than 700 users.

Heavy rains and high winds tore branches from countless trees and downed hundreds of others, blocking streets and damaging homes throughout the area. Damage from erosion along the shore was still being assessed.

No fatalities were reported in Nassau during the storm, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said.

Thirty county crews were out throughtout the night and into the morning removing fallen trees and storm debris from county roads, which, she said, were mostly passable.

At the peak of the storm, some 435,000 outages were reported across Long Island, and the county executive criticized PSEG for what she described as a lack of communication by the utility during the storm, saying people were unable to get through to report downed wires.

A message on the PSEG website advised users to report outages in the following ways:

"Text OUT to PSEGLI (773454), report it online, through our app, or call 800-490-0075."

The county opened its cooling centers for those without power. County parks were also open, but not golf courses, pools or the rifle range.

For those making use of county parks, Curran said, "please be careful," noting the many downed trees remaining.

She also said county officials were coordinating with town and village authorities on local debris cleanup. A number of street lights remain without power, and she said motorists must exercise caution when entering "dark" intersections, adding that the county is working with PSEG to restore electricity to those intersections.

Isaias rolled across Nassau Tuesday afternoon with relatively little rain but with sustained winds in the 30 to 50 mph range, with some gusts in excess of 70 mph, downing trees throughout the region, with some falling on homes.

Power outages were reported in western Nassau, in communities like Valley Stream, Franklin Square, Lynbrook and Rockville Centre, along with eastern Nassau in places like Levittown and Wantagh-Seaford. As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, PSEG reported the following:

"Tropical Storm Isaias was one of the strongest to reach the service area in years, causing widespread, severe damage. Some outages could last for an extended period. Strong winds and hazardous gusts downed trees, branches and wires, currently affecting more than 368,000 of our 1.1 million customers across Long Island and the Rockaways. We have already restored power to more than 36,000 customers."

The villages of Freeport and Rockville Centre have their own power companies, and widespread outages were reported in Rockville Centre as of Tuesday evening.

The storm shut down the Long Island Rail Road throughout the afternoon. A message on the LIRR site stated, "LIRR service is suspended systemwide due to high winds and hazardous conditions caused by Tropical Storm Isais, including fallen trees, downed utility poles and power outages. We will resume service as soon as conditions safely allow."

Forecasters had predicted two to four inches of rain Tuesday afternoon, but Isaias stayed more to the west, striking in New Jersery and upstate New York with heavy rain. Long Island was lashed by the storm's outer rain and wind bands, reducing the precipitation total.

The storm also hit during low tide, reducing flooding in low-lying areas.