Even before Tropical Storm Irene made landfall in New York early Sunday, her winds caused major damage throughout Long Island. Trees were downed and power was lost to as many as 460,000 Long Island customers, the Long Island Power Authority reported.
Overnight, winds as high as 70 miles per hour from then-Hurricane Irene lashed Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Newsday reported the highest recorded winds at 67 mph at Bayville, on the north shore, in the Town of Oyster Bay.
Kate Murray, Supervisor of the Town of Hempstead, said there had not been serious reports of flooding but that tree removal will be key. Tree removal will be the story, she told WNBC. She said there had been no reports of breaches in dunes in beaches in the town, Nassau's most populous, which includes Point Lookout and Lido Beach, just east of Long Beach.
Murray, a resident of Levittown, said she had lost power at home.
In Great Neck, residents of an apartment building just west of the Village Green were awakened around 3 a.m. after southeast winds uprooted a large tree, which fell cleanly into the front yard, narrowly avoiding the building as well as LIPA power lines. A June 2010 micro-burst uprooted as many as 3,000 trees in central Great Neck and battered the Village Green, which was replanted by the Great Neck Park District. It appeared not to have been damaged Sunday.
Great Neck Park District Chairman Ivar Segalowitz said in an interview he was not aware of major damage to any of the parks in the peninsula. Segalowitz said he was headed to Steppingstone Park, a green space and marina at the tip of Kings Point, where workers had dismantled a large sound stage used for summer concerts Friday, as well as moved floating piers in the marina.
But at least 30 familes from Kings Point, the tip of the Great Neck peninsula, took shelter at Great Neck North High School Saturday night, a school district official said. Their homes were in low-lying sections of the affluent village of 6,000, one of the richest in the U.S. Many Kings Point mansions have private docks and mini-marinas.
Sandbags had been placed around Great Neck House, the Park Commission's community center, which appeared to be dry. A large branch on Arrandale Ave., to the north, had fallen in front of its entrance.
Power stayed on in Great Neck and many sections of Nassau County but LIPA said many sections were dark. Over the past 14 months, LIPA has performed extensive tree-trimming in county wide. The Irene outages already surpass a 2010 winter storm, LIPA acknowledged. Repair crews will wait until winds die down to perform repairs.
TV images showed Irene's storm surge in Long Beach, on the south shore, where Irene's waves damaged the boardwalk and shoved a large concrete tower up the beach into the boardwalk. National Guard personnel were ordered to deal with post-surge flooding ithere.
Flooding was also reported in south shore communities including Freeport, Merrick, Lido Beach and Atlantic Beach. Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano urged residents to remain at home.
Suffolk County communities such as Babylon sustained heavy flooding, TV images showed.
Starting Friday, Nassau's Mangano had ordered residents living in areas lying 10 feet and less above sea level to evacuate. While mainly on the south shore, they also include residents in the Town of North Hempstead on the Port Washington peninsula, on the north shore.
In the Great Neck peninsula, just west of Port Washington, the main arteries looked clear. The Long Island Rail Road and Long Island Bus remained closed after the Metropolitan Transportation Authority suspended all operations midday Saturday. There was little traffic.
Forecasters said winds from Irene, downgraded now to only a tropical storm, will persist for many hours. Rain, more than 10 inches in some areas of Long Island, only about two weeks after a similar downpour, was expected to taper off.