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Storm spurs state of emergency in Long Island

Hans Braxmeier

A flash flood watch is in effect for coastal Connecticut and Long Island as a nor’easter blows through until Wednesday morning. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone declared a state of emergency due to minor flooding and high winds.

The storm is expected to dump around 3 inches of rain regionwide. Wind gusts could pick up to more than 50 miles per hour in southeastern Connecticut and 60 miles per hour on eastern Long Island. Heavy rains are in the forecast for Tuesday night.

Bellone said this storm, which started on Monday, is unique because of how long it will stick around.

“This storm is challenging because of its length. We are looking at a storm that is going to be with us through tomorrow,” he said. “You’ve got a storm that is delivering both heavy rains and high winds which pose significant challenges. ”

The county has several high-axle vehicles ready to help clear the roads of tree limbs and other debris once the storm winds down. The combination of heavy wind with leaves still on the trees is likely to produce power outages.

“So certainly with this heavy soaking rain loosening up the ground and the leaves still being on the tree, it’s fair to assume that once the wind picks up we will have trees down,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Stuart Cameron said.

As of 3 p.m., PSEG Long Island has fewer than 50 customers in the dark. In Connecticut, under 1,500 Eversource customers are without power, or less than 1% of customers. United Illuminating are reporting fewer than 150 outages in the state. That’s down from from more than 6,000 region wide at noon.

Multiple car accidents have been reported since the storm started Monday night, including a vehicle rollover and semi-truck that jackknifed on I-84. There was some flooding on the Long Island Expressway near exit 68.

Bellone urged drivers to use caution and watch out for water pooling on highways.

“I don’t think I can emphasize enough the importance of a storm like this just paying attention, being careful, being cautious out there,” Bellone said. “If you can avoid the roadways later.”

New York Governor Kathy Hochul preemptively declared a state disaster emergency on Monday night for Long Island and the rest of the downstate region.

“All New Yorkers should remain vigilant and be prepared to follow any emergency orders issued by local governments,” she said in a statement. “I am strongly urging everyone to monitor their local weather forecasts and use caution on your commute home this evening and Wednesday morning."

John is a former news fellow with WSHU Public Radio.