2012-10-26 / Front Page

LIPA Floods Rockaway

November 5, 2012

LIPA Floods Rockaway

On Sunday, nearly a full week after Superstorm Sandy roared through Rockaway, inundating homes and floating away automobiles, LIPA finally came to the peninsula in a meaningful way.

With more than 300 employees deployed to the peninsula, bringing portable generators and the wherewithal to bypass flooded electrical stations, LIPA hopes that it is on the road to energizing the grid and bringing electricity back to Rockaway.

Officials warn, however, that the job will not be easy – or without problems.

“This is a dangerous situation,” one LIPA official said. “There was lots of water intrusion into electrical equipment and energizing home that have electric or gas intrusion can start a large fire. Every home has to be checked individually and meters have to be repaired or replaced prior to energizing the distribution system. Bad meters can be pulled, however, so that we can energize nearby homes without starting a fire.”

The LIPA employees, who are working 1n 16-hour shifts, began fanning out throughout Rockaway early on Monday morning, officials say. Some will be going house to house to check electrical and gas systems for safety issues while others will be cleaning and dewatering the transmission facilities or designing by pass systems to bring power back to whatever homes can safely be energized.

LIPA officials say that there are  more than 115,000 residents in Rockaway and Broad Channel without electricity. They add that it may take “several more days” before the local substations are cleared or a work-around can be fashioned.

Without electricity, things remain far from normal in Rockaway.

One local told The Wave that he went to the Far Rockaway Post Office to pick up his mail on Monday morning and stood on line for six hours waiting his turn. That office, on Mott Avenue, is holding mail for the entire peninsula, with the exception of Breezy Point, officials say.

On Tuesday, many voters turned out to a tent polling station powered by generators outside of Scholars’ Academy on Beach 104 Street. While they had to wait for gas for the generator, voters said that the process went smoothly.

  On Wednesday, local students will begin their work at schools in Brooklyn and Queens, faced with weeks or months of traveling each day until their Rockaway schools are cleaned and made ready for the students. Virtually all of the schools in Rockaway; save for the few in Far Rockaway and far from the water, are closed. All of the schools from Edgemere to Belle Harbor remain closed.

With a Nor’Easter coming tomorrow night, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is urging those residents who remain in their homes to seek shelter where there is electricity and heat

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