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Tracking Elsa: Long Island Officials Urging Residents To Prepare For Potential Flooding Overnight

FREEPORT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Tropical Storm Elsa is moving toward the Tri-State Area after pounding parts of the South.

The storm's remnants could bring battering wind, heavy rain, plus tidal and flash flooding overnight into Friday morning.

As Long Island braced for its first brush of the year with a named storm Thursday, crews spent the day getting ready for heavy rain and strong wind, CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported.

There was a calm wind at Jones Beach, but lifeguard stands on their sides signaled the approaching storm. Parks officials gave visitors a full beach day, but they're now in storm mode.

"Small lifeguard stands, trash receptacles, signs, anything we can lose out in the Atlantic Ocean," NYS Parks Regional Director George Gorman.

The approaching remnants bring familiar anxiety to the Nautical Mile in Freeport, where tough lessons were learned.

"I built two restaurants back after Sandy. All our kitchen equipment is on quick disconnect. So, God forbid we do have reports of a high flood, I can pack up two kitchens in about three hours into a box truck, take it up north and just weather the storm. But we're used to weathering storms around here," said Ivan Sayles, president of the Nautical Mile Merchants Association.

Restaurants closed early and boat owners were shoring up lines.

"I don't think any special preparations on this one, extra fenders, a couple lines," said Scott Shane of Montauk Yacht Sales.

Officials say don't underestimate this storm. Last year, Tropical Storm Isaias - the only one that hit us last season - toppled massive trees and left parts of Long Island without power for weeks.

"We should learn a lesson just from last year. That tropical storm came in, knocked down trees, knocked out power, which resulted in people losing thousands of dollars of food and other essentials in their house," said Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin. "You should go out now, gas the car up, charge the batteries, be prepared. It's always best to err on the side of caution than regret it in the end."

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"Some people last year just looked at that storm and said, 'Oh, it's not a hurricane. What can it do?' Well look back and see exactly what it did. Look at the people who lost power for weeks on end, the amount of trees that were down," Clavin said.

elsa preps cleaning storm drains long island gusoff
Storm drains on Long Island are cleaned out to minimize potential street flooding from remnants of Tropical Storm Elsa on July 8, 2021. (credit: CBS2)

In Hempstead, crews geared up for what could be a long, windy and wet night. Crews cleaned storm drains to prevent street flooding and readied tree removal equipment.

Officials are urging people to tie up loose, outdoor items and take down outdoor umbrellas.

PSEG Long Island also has a new app that can be used to report power outages and proved information about restoration times. The utility came under fire last year for poor communication and slow response times after Isaias.

"I don't want to call it performance anxiety, but I know that they are very aware that they have to respond well for this storm," said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.

PSEG LI said it's prepared this time, giving assurances to Curran that 1,000 out-of-state workers stand ready.

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