Residents on the north edge of Bayville got a big break when storm winds shifted early Monday evening and began blowing from the south, pushing the storm surge and incoming waves back toward Connecticut.
The receding waters left village streets littered with starfish, shrimp, seaweed and seashells.
Before the wind shift, Bayville residents had reported widespread basement and first-floor flooding, from 6 inches to 5 feet of standing water. The change in the storm, however, prevented even worse damage at the high tide at midnight -- which had been predicted to be the peak flooding time.
Brian Ward, of Howard Road, said he and his family left Bayville on Monday before the tide cut off Bayville's only exit. "We left at high tide yesterday afternoon when the waves were breaking over the sea wall and we didn't feel confident, because we have three children," Ward said.
The family went to stay with friends in Lattingtown, and Ward came back on his own on Tuesday to clean up. He found 4 or 5 feet of water in the basement, though by mid-morning it had drained down through the village's sandy soil.
"We have no damage on the first or second floor, luckily," he said. "We got very lucky considering the strength of the storm."
At one point during the storm, Bayville was entireley cut off because both of the only access roads were covered with water. The western access road, Bayville Avenue, was reopened Monday afternoon and remains open.
One section of the second access road, West Shore Road, which runs through Mill Neck and connects Oyster Bay to Bayville, collapsed during the storm surge generated Monday evening by Sandy, officials said. Two of the other sections were undermined, leaving the asphalt top with nothing below it. The collapse was near Cleft Road.
West Shore Road was strewn with debris and its power lines were leaning precariously.
Nine boats, including three large sailboats, washed up on the shore along the roadway.
The county was preparing to do a three-phase project to reconstruct all two miles of West Shore Road and the seawall that supports it.
The first phase of the project was stalled for several months by the late Nassau County Legislature's Presiding Officer, Peter Schmitt, as officials attempted to determine if the road was owned by the county.
The issue was resolved in September, when Schmitt finally announced he would let the work proceed. But the collapse occurred before vital roadwork could begin.
The collapse only compounded the access issue.