NBC 4 New York
Residents try to protect their homes and businesses as they brace for what Sandy may bring to the area. Brian Thompson reports.
Tri-state residents are taking no chances when it comes to Sandy and have started preparing for the impending storm with Irene still fresh on their minds, some of its damage still scattered along the shores.
In Long Beach, N.Y. some homeowners were lining their driveways with sandbags days before the unusual hurricane-winter storm mix was set to roll into the area. Richard Bogart spent the day barricading his Washington Avenue driveway, just 13 months after Irene flooded his basement.
"We're getting prepared this time," said Bogart, recalling the four feet of water that surged up in his basement when Irene hit the area, lifting up his surfboards and furniture.
Long Island saw water damage and power outages for days after weeks after Irene, costing the Long Island Power Authority $176 million to clean up. It was the most expensive storm in the utility's history.
In Coney Island, Brooklyn, customers at a local supermarket filled their carts with essentials, remembering the evacuations and the last-minute rush for supplies during Irene.
"I just want to be safe," said Luba Lips, who spent $150 on rice, water, butter, eggs and other staples.
Coney Island was the first part of the New York City to be hit by the tropical storm last year and was one of the areas under a mandatory evacuation at the time.
New Jersey authorities aren't just thinking about Irene, which dumped 12 inches of rain on the state and caused massive damage. In Monmouth Beach, Lt. Dennis Cahill, who is director of Office of Emergency Management, remembered the devastating effects of the 1992 Northeaster.
"You're really not ready for it until you experience it," he said of the storm. "We really had no warning about it, so no one evacuated."
With no beach, waves easily crested the sea wall protecting condominiums, while most streets in town were flooded. The homes on some streets have since been replaced and for the most part sit higher than the expected flood level. Equipment to reach stranded residents has been upgraded, and the sea walls have been strengthened in some places.
But for Cahill, the best advice remains to prepare for the worst.
"We're taking all precautions as if it's going to be a very bad, very serious storm," he said.