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Long Beach cleaning up after Tropical Storm Isaias causes mayhem

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Traffic crawled down Long Beach's wide streets as lights were out in several key intersections. Trees were down on side streets, and there were scattered power outages in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaias.

John McNally, executive assistant to the Long Beach City Manager, said Wednesday that the city had survived intact after the storm with its heavy winds and at times hard rains blew through in the afternoon hours of Tuesday.

A bright sun and high humidity greeted Long Beachers Wednesday morning, with predictions of some showers Wednesday afternoon.

Ian Danby, chairman of Long Beach's Chamber of Commerce, said most businesses were open Wednesday morning. But he said his usual brisk ride to work took longer than usual because of downed trees, some closed roads and some traffic lights not working.

PSEG said crews had been out through the night trying to repair downed power lines, but with hundreds of thousands out of power across Long Island, the job might take a day or two or even more.

Tropical Storm Isaias, a swift-moving temptest, knocked down more than a thousand trees and some 338 electric and phone wires here, said County Executive Laura Curran during a news briefing Wednesday morning.

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

The storm did, though, rip the roof off the Beach Terrace Care Center, a nursing home in Long Beach, the county executive 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.

Nassau was reporting 135,000 power outages as of Wednesday morning, Curran said. At the peak, there were some 435,000 outages 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 states that people can report outages in the following ways:

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

The county was opening 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 there are still many downed trees.

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.

NICE Bus officials said riders could expect delays because of storm cleanup, issuing the following statement:

"All riders should ... extra time for their commutes, and check with NICE Bus for service updates. As always, passenger and employee safety will remain the top priority for NICE Bus. NICE Bus regularly posts updates in the event of service changes. Riders can receive the latest information through www.nicebus.com, the GoMobile app alerts and Transit App.  

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.