Snowstorm spares most LI shores

Long Islanders began digging out of the first snowstorm of 2014, which as of Friday morning dropped as much as a foot of snow in Suffolk County, with 12 inches in North Babylon, 11.5 in Bay Shore and 11 in Eastport, meteorologist said. Nassau's hardest-hit hamlet was Oceanside with 11 inches, followed by Massapequa at 10.1 and Plainview with 10. Videojournalists: Newsday Staff (Jan. 3, 2014)

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The high waves and tides that accompanied the year's first snowstorm eroded the most vulnerable beaches on Fire Island and the East End, but spared the rest of Long Island's shoreline, officials and coastal experts said.

As is often the case in nor'easters, the ocean beaches at Robert Moses State Park on Fire Island took a hit.

"We sustained noticeable erosion at Field 5 and the water tower beachfront at Robert Moses," said Wayne Horsley, regional director for the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. "There was erosion on the beach itself," and the waves and high tides carved into the base of the dunes, but they were not breached, and roadways and park buildings were undamaged, he said.

Elsewhere in the park, he said, "at the boat basin the tides are over the fishing piers."

At Orient Beach on the North Fork, there was some erosion, but the access road to the state park was not damaged, Horsley said. But "overall, we're getting out of this pretty well."

On the South Fork, Dune Road remained closed west of Ponquogue Bridge in Hampton Bays due to flooding.

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Aram Terchunian, coastal geologist at First Coastal Corp. in Westhampton Beach, said some "erosional hot spots" along the Atlantic shoreline in the Georgica Pond area of East Hampton Village and in Quogue in Southampton lost dunes. "In East Hampton, the protective dune in front of the sea walls is gone," he said. "In Quogue, there's about a 5- or 6-foot-high cliff or storm scarf in the dune."

He said, "The waves got up to about 18 feet . . . but the remainder of the beach doesn't look so bad."

There was localized flooding in Seaford, Island Park and Freeport, according to Hempstead Town spokesman Mike Deery.

In Long Beach, ocean waves came within 20 feet of the boardwalk rebuilt after superstorm Sandy. City Manager Jack Schnirman said there had been "very minor flooding" in the West End and Canals neighborhoods, areas that usually flood during storms.

Despite high waves on the Sound, there was no flooding in Bayville or Asharoken, two North Shore villages susceptible to wash-overs when the wind comes from the northeast as it did Thursday, officials said. "We prepared and it wasn't as bad as we thought," Asharoken Clerk Nancy Rittenhouse said.

North Hempstead spokesman Ryan Mulholland said the town experienced no coastal flooding. "The tides never came up to cause any degree of damage," he said.

In Babylon, Supervisor Richard Schaffer reported minor erosion at Gilgo Beach, where the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has completed two-thirds of a project to shore up dunes after Sandy. "It wasn't as bad as we thought because the storm moved through quickly overnight," he said.

He added that there was flooding on the bay side of the American Venice area in Copiague. "We are watching it," Schaffer said. "With the cold temperatures . . . we are concerned about it and trying to do the best we can."

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In Lindenhurst, after experiencing problems with Sandy, Rhonda Verrier called it "scary" watching water approach her home on South Fourth Street.

"We have high tide all the way up in our driveway," Verrier said. But it "missed the house by about 10 feet."

With Denise M. Bonilla, Mackenzie Issler,

James T. Madore,

Patrick Whittle

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and Olivia Winslow

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