Long Beach officials urge residents to evacuate
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Hurricane center officials said one of the storm’s most dangerous elements would be a “significant storm surge,” with the Atlantic Ocean rising three to six feet above normal levels in many areas, potentially inundating low-lying areas. The estimates were that the ocean level could rise one to two feet above astronomical tides on Sunday, two to four feet on Monday morning and potentially five to 10 feet Monday into Tuesday, depending on location.
During Tropical Storm Irene, water from the ocean met the bay on Park Avenue, and a powerful storm surge broke through a 15-foot-high berm at National Boulevard, lifted Beach Patrol Headquarters off its foundation and slammed it into the boardwalk. Roughly 4,000 Long Beach residences and businesses were without for weeks as city crews continue repaired the damage caused by massive flooding and 33 downed trees that pulled down power lines, tore up sidewalks and damaged property, including retaining walls and ramps along the boardwalk. The storm caused $2.1 million in damage in Long Beach.
City officials constructed 8-foot high berms in preparation for Hurricane Sandy, and gave out 20,000 sandbags to residents. Like last year, the news media has camped out at the Allegria Hotel to cover the storm.
“The berms are still holding up and we’re at the boardwalk,” Tepper said on Monday morning. “The boardwalk is 17-feet [high], and they’re predicting the water will reach 11 feet.”
The city issued a mandatory evacuation order on Sunday, saying that it was sending buses around to the west of the city on the hour and to the east on the half hour, running until 2:30 p.m. on Monday, transporting residents to the Long Island Rail Road train station where shuttle buses will take residents to shelters at Levittown Memorial High School and Mitchel Field for pets. The Long Beach Bridge, according to the city, was open with one lane in each direction as of noon on Monday. Visit www.longbeachny.org for updates about road and bridge closures.
Long Beach Schools closed on Monday and will remain closed on Tuesday as well, according to school board trustee Roy Lester.