Sandy strikes Long Island with a wallop
“Chaotic,” was how one police officer described the scene in the streets this afternoon.
Police, firefighters and local Town and Village officials were out in the streets or manning the phones taking calls from concerned citizens, some of whom failed to heed the earlier warnings and refused to comply with mandatory evacuations from the barrier beaches and communities south of Montauk Highway/Merrick Road. As the waters began rising, and the winds got heavier, many had second thoughts and called for help. That put rescue workers, firefighters and police at risk.
“There is no want we want to have our volunteers out there in 60mph winds,” said Massapequa Fire Chief Stephen Daresta after his volunteers were able to get eight people from their flooded homes to safety ate this afternoon. “That’s it,” he said. “We can’t do any more for those who were determined to stay in their homes under these conditions.”
In Massapequa Park Boulevard between Wilson and Clark was closed on Monday and part of Tuesday.
“Right now in the height of the storm we want to make sure that anyone who wants to get out is out,” said Mayor James Altadonna. “We have a lot of flooding south of Montauk Highway which is what we expected and we are working closely with LIPA and other officials assessing what the situation is and when we can expect to get some power back.’
While mandatory evacuations were ordered by Sunday on the barrier beaches, some residents chose to stay. But as the weather worsened this afternoon, several called for help in evacuating. At their own peril, rescue volunteers and police went in to rescue the residents and were able to reach most of them. They were unable to get to about a half dozen residents, however, and S.C. Exec. Bellone and N.C. Exec. Ed Mangano said the county is looking at some contingency plans to get to them if at all possible.
“We’ve had better days,” said Daresta. “Everyone is safe; just wet.”