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'Use Your Common Sense': Long Island Officials Urge Caution During Coastal Storm

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Long Island officials urged caution Friday, as a powerful coastal storm brought heavy rain and strong winds to the Tri-State.

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Nassau County Executive Laura Curran told residents to "use your common sense."

"If you don't have to drive, don't," she said. "Stay home."

Curran said county officials were mostly focused on coastal flooding.

"With another high tide coming, we want to caution our low-lying, coastal communities to be ready for flooding," she said. "We have already seen flooding conditions in Long Beach, Baldwin, Bayville and the five towns." 

As CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported, a crashing thundering collapse of a towering oak tree along Stratford Avenue in Garden City slammed through roofs of two homes below, leaving a neighborhood in shock at what might have been.

"The tree smashed into the house. Look at the side of the house. That's an old lady over there, too. She's home but she's OK. And then of course in this house is Margaret, and that's the second tree that fell on her house," neighbor Richard Gravina told McLogan. "They ripped the electric right out of our house here."

With live power lines down, utility crews rushed in with firefighters. Some residents worried about an explosion or the possibility of additional trees toppings as the storm picked up steam.

The uprooted oak was believed to be 80 to 100 years old.

"We had one person with chest pains from the original house went to the hospital. And we have all the utilities shut off in the house," New Hyde Park Fire Chief Victor Sowinski said. "Thank God we didn't get the snow, because that really would have weighed it down." 

"This storm in particular is a challenge for a couple of reasons. You are coupling here high winds and a significant amount of rainfall," Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said.

The duration of the storm was another factor.

"This is a weather event that is particularly lengthy. It is not a storm that is moving over our area and then moving out. It is a massive storm," Bellone said.

Bellone said wind gusts of up to 70 mph were expected.

"Those high winds are going to continue to cause a flooding concern" even after people think the storm is over, Bellone said.

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