Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 09 July 2010 00:00
Responding to a request for assistance from the Village of Great Neck, Mayor Jack M. Martins dispatched the Village of Mineola’s Tree Service Crew to Great Neck to help clear stranded residents last week. Great Neck also reached out to the Town of North Hempstead for aid as well.
Heavy windstorms hit Great Neck Village hard on June 24, leaving hundreds of homes without power and with downed trees limiting access to homes, vehicles, driveways and roadways. The extensive number of fallen trees has further limited the ability of public works crews and LIPA service crews to restore services to Great Neck homeowners.
Since the storm hit, Mineola has dispatched at least four dump-trucks, two front-loaders and 11 workers per day to aid the residents in getting back to a normal and stable lifestyle; one without tree limbs in their windows and stumps on their lawns. According to the village, front-loaders are crucial in a large cleanup. Front-loaders are big tractors that can scoop or grab large piles of debris.
Area homeowners were without electricity, gas, or air conditioning for long periods of time. The storm that touched down in Great Neck has inconvenienced some residents to a point where they’ve been forced to vacate their homes.
According to the village, the storm that hit Long Island last Thursday left up to 65,000 LIPA customers without power. The Village of Great Neck was hit swirling winds and unruly gusts. So hard, in fact, that the National Weather Service investigated the storm to determine if it was actually a tornado that hit Great Neck.
Upon investigating the storm, the Weather Service declared that the storm was a “micro-burst.” A micro-burst, according to a village representative, is a very localized column of sinking air, producing damaging divergent and straight-line winds at the surface that are similar to but distinguishable from tornadoes which generally have convergent damage.
Mineola received only limited damage from the storm in its northernmost sections. The Mineola Department of Public Works responded to those windstorm occurrences the same day. At no time were Mineola residents trapped in their homes.
As of July 1, Mineola’s tree crew is still assisting Great Neck residents in clearing the neighborhood of downed trees and storm debris. Mineola representatives said that it’s only the right thing to do when a neighboring village is in a difficult situation.
“The fabric of village life is based on neighbors caring for neighbors,” stated Mayor Jack Martins. “I think it’s only appropriate that we help our northern neighbors who were not as lucky as our residents to escape this devastation when we have the available resources.”
Mayor Martins also noted that he is confident that, if the roles were reversed and Mineola needed assistance, villages such as Great Neck would come to its aid. Martins iterated that no one should have to endure a storm that is life and home threatening. The mayor said he spoke to the mayor of Great Neck Ralph Kreitzman and discussed the issues pertaining to the storm that rocked the tiny village to the north.
“I asked if there was anything that we could do,” Martins stated. “That’s where it started. I think it’s important that if we do have places that are affected by storms, we should have the ability to help each other. Tomorrow the storm could be here in Mineola.”
Martins iterated that he feels the real question is, how prepared are towns and villages when it comes to frantic storms that threaten homes and livelihoods? He told Anton Community Newspapers that, “there were people that were without power four or five days after the storm. And those days, the temperature was in the high 90-degree area. We happen to be one of the larger villages in the Town and have resources that other villages do not. It was only the right thing to do in taking action.”
The mayor concluded that the Department of Public Works will continue to aid Great Neck as it needs. “I commend the board [of trustees] for going all-in on this plan,” Martins said. “It was a testament to their own sense of doing the right thing.”