Rockaway braces for Joaquin’s punch

By Bill Parry

Almost three years ago, Rockaway residents heard that a storm was heading out to sea and they relaxed. Then Hurricane Sandy made a turn and roared ashore devastating the peninsula.

“Sandy taught us the importance of vigilance in our preparations for any potential storm,” state Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Ozone Park) said. “Even as current models show Joaquin heading out to sea, I will continue to provide families with the latest information to ensure we are prepared for any possible outcome in the days ahead.”

Goldfeder adds that he’s staying in constant touch with NYC Emergency Management, the NYPD and every other appropriate agency to ensure everything is being done to make the community informed, prepared and safe. He is also suggesting that residents store three days’ worth of water and nonperishable food items, flashlights, first-aid kits and necessary medications.

Meanwhile, the City Parks Department was out in force Wednesday filling in sand dunes at Beach 106th, Beach 97th, Beach 86th and Beach 44th streets where pathways had been cleared for beachgoers this summer. Crews will spend the weekend installing flood logs, aluminum panels that fit into the permanent baffle walls — which control the flow of water — at each street end from Beach 127th to 149th streets.

The flood logs will essentially close access to the beach in those area, according to Parks spokeswoman Meghan Lalor.

“These measures are in addition to the protective measures we’ve already taken in Rockaway, including 1 mile of fully constructed, elevated boardwalk, approximately six miles of planted dunes. 3.5 million cubic yards of sand replenishment, and concrete retaining wall to keep the beach’s sand in place and prevent it from entering the community,” she said.

Parks invested more that $140 million to repair and restore Rockaway Beach and Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) believes the peninsula is better prepared that it was three years ago.

“Our city is better prepared for extreme weather events,” he said. “We learned many lessons from Hurricane Sandy and work with our state and federal partners to ensure that decisions are made responsively and that people are made aware of what they need to know to keep themselves safe.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr[email protected]local.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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