Long Beach residents face the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy
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"We just redid our house after [Tropical Storm] Irene," Watts said. "The water was in my drawers and in my closet. My washing machine is overturned. The waterline in the backyard is four feet."
Watts and other homeowners were clearing out debris, sandbags and barriers piled in front of their homes, as they grappled with not only the loss of power, but no water or sewer service as wind and rain continued to whip the city. Pine Street in the North Park area was still flooded on Tuesday.
"[The Long Island Power Authority] shut us down because one of their grids blew, and I guess because they were all under water that was the safest thing to do, so it might take a couple of days to put those other two back up," said Cregeen, adding that police continued to advise residents to leave the city. "We lost our sewers, our water and we lost our electric ... we're hoping to have the sewers back in a couple of days, but I don't know ..."
"People need to evacuate," Cregeen added. "The order still stands ...
there's no sewage, there's no water."
On Tuesday, buses were transporting many residents from City Hall, where police officers were giving out water, to shelters at Nassau Community College and elsewhere. The National Guard, New York State, Nassau County and Long Beach Police could be seen patrolling the city.
Officials from the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management and FEMA were also in Long Beach to assist city officials. Long Beach firefighters responded to six house fires in the East End, among other emergency responses.
"We had a fire down in the East End," Cregeen said. "It was
a huge, devastating fire, six houses. The winds were just blowing so
hard, stoking the flames and jumping from house to house."
Sirens could be heard regularly throughout the city on Tuesday.
National Guard troops could be seen dropping residents off at City Hall in a Humvee, as troops helped them unload their suitcases before they evacuated the city. Many looked worried and exhausted as they boarded buses. Others could be seen walking across the Long Beach Bridge with their belongings.
Nassau County health officials warned Long Beach residents on Tuesday that the tap water was not safe to use, even when boiled. Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said Tuesday afternoon that of the city's roughly 33,000 residents, 15,000 to 20,000 people in the city opted not to evacuate. About 30 percent of the city's population stayed behind during Irene, city officials said before Hurricane Sandy hit. Mangano urged the residents to leave barrier island and stay with friends or in a shelter.
"I lived here my whole life and we've never had the water shut off, we
always had water," said Fulton Street resident Eve Knez, as she walked toward Park Avenue with her neighbor, Winsome Parchment. Both said that they intended to stay in the city and did not want to leave their homes unguarded. "My basement was flooded within five minutes. [The water] came up like gangbusters. I just had it remodeled. We stayed behind. I have pets to, I have my brother ... I just couldn't do it."
Many homes throughout the city were severely or totally damaged. The surge and subsequent flooding washed away or damaged vehicles; tore Lifeguard Headquarters — which had only dislodged during Irene — on National Boulevard beach to pieces and covered streets with sand. High-rise buildings like the Aqua were caked with sand, while downed trees and splintered boards with protruding nails littered the city.
Employees at the Allegria Hotel and other businesses could be seen clearing out flooded first floors and residents attempted to dig out their cars that were buried in sand on Shore Road and other streets. Many vehicles were simply destroyed and abandoned throughout the city. Some were lifted by the surge and slammed into buildings.
Westholme resident Stuart Banschick, like many residents, was among those checking out the damage on the boardwalk at National Boulevard on Tuesday.
"I've never seen anything like this," the 26-year resident said. "This
is like the [Hurricane] Katrina of New York. It's absolute devastation,
that's all I can say."
"We stayed here last night," he added. "The water came within about two or three inches of our main floor. We lost all three cars, we have no electric, no plumbing, no water. From what I hear ... it's probably
going to take about 10-days, two weeks maybe. From what I heard, the