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Long Island communities recover from tornado

August 11, 2012 4:47:01 PM PDT
A major cleanup was underway on Long Island Saturday after a tornado swept through several communities.

According to the National Weather Service, the EF0 tornado touched down in Great River first, tracking north through Connetquot State Park and Bohemia Park, ending its reign of destruction in Bohemia.

It was the tail end of the tornado that did most of the damage.

"I couldn't see out of my door more than 4 or 5 feet, then I see the tree coming down, when the crackling started," said storm victim Bob Kiernan.

Two trees came down in Kiernan's yard in Bohemia.

"This tree came down, hit my house and actually moved it over four inches and took the chimney off with it," said Kiernan.

The tornado also ripped through the town of Islip with 85 mile per hour winds.

"All of a sudden I hear this wind blowing by the windows where I was standing," said resident Cecilia Rudkowski. "And the house and the windows were rattling and shaking."

One tree in Oakdale came crashing down onto power lines, completely blocking Hollywood Drive.

On Saturday, it was the last of the big cleanup jobs for the town's public works department.

Residents won't soon forget the twister that roared through the area Friday.

"It was like a train going down the road, that was really what it sounded like, it was amazing," said Daren Mazzarella, a Bohemia resident.

Several hamlets in the area got the brunt of the storm.

It cut a path through Oakdale as well, but most of the damage may be in Bohemia, where Town of Islip Supervisor Tom Croci gave Eyewitness News a tour of the cleanup along Feuerisen Avenue.

"We have some damage to homes, no loss of life, something really grateful for," Croci said.

There will be days, weeks, perhaps months of repairs for some homeowners.

For now, LIPA crews work to restore power to residents still stunned by what just happened.

"I knew it was a tornado right away, first time and hopefully the last time," said Thomas Mastandrea, a Bohemia resident.

In the backyard of Alex Taliana's Westbury home, virtually everything took a hit in this storm or went flying.

Out front, a large tree was up rooted.

Cleanup begins immediately.

A chain saw would take down the tree.

LIPA crews are now repairing power lines.

Down the street there is a broken water main, coincidental but not believed to be caused by the storm.

Over in East Meadow another large tree came crashing down.

It frightened the 92-year-old homeowner.

She's lived there 50 years.

Back in Westbury there are plenty of repair jobs in the neighborhood.

Paul Barron owner of Westbury Siding and Roofing figures he'll hand out 10 to 15 estimates.

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