Anyone who doubts how big a risk Long Island and New York City might face should a major hurricane hit the vulnerable region need only examine the extensive damage done when the relatively mild Ernesto hit this past weekend.

There were trees and tree limbs down everywhere. Shingles were torn from homes and windows were shattered across the island. Power lines were downwith some 40,000 people estimated to have lost their electricity. There was serious beach erosion in spots.

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