Learning Lessons From Irene

Massapequa Park mayor looks back at storm.

Tuesday is the anniversary of a storm that created a giant headache for Massapequa and much of Long Island.

Hurricane Irene actually made landfall as a tropical storm, but when Massapequans woke up on August many were dealing with power outages and flood conditions. Residents south of Merrick Road were ordered to evacuate.

in the Massapequa area alone. Massapequa Park was hardest hit with more than 4,500 outages.

Village mayor James Altadonna was response to the storm at the time, saying he had difficulty getting information on power restoration.

A year later, Altadonna called LIPA's response, the one “black eye” of Irene’s visit.

But after Nassau County lawmakers conducted an inquiry into LIPA’s response, the mayor said the power company seems to be on the right track now. 

“I feel that LIPA got the message, and that they will be more prepared in case a storm happens once again,” he said. “They’ve organized some seminars, and they have the proper mechanism in place now for dispatch and taking complaints, and linemen and crews to go out to tackle the job that needs to be done. And I think they know now that trees are their biggest culprit to bringing back power, so they now have more tree crews.”

The Mayor said he was pleased with the plans the village had in place prior to the storm and said they'd be used again if the area were threatened again.

"There was a lot of preparedness, a lot of good, hard work, and we came through it fine," Altadonna  said. “Our procedures are in place in case another storm hits, and the severity of the storm is how we react.”

Power wasn't restored until Sept. 6 on Long Island, and downed lines and trees also took a days leading to a .

It was a long cleanup and a difficult time but the community came together and  stood up to the challenge.

“I can’t say enough,” Altadonna said. “The Village had help from the Town of Oyster Bay...as a community, we had help from residents. We all pulled together, neighbors helping neighbors, and we came through it with flying colors. I couldn’t be more proud of our community than I already am. We all did a terrific job.”


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