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2 men injured by lightning in Westhampton

A file photo of Cupsogue Beach in Westhampton

A file photo of Cupsogue Beach in Westhampton (July 25, 2008) Credit: Newsday file, 2008 /Viorel Florescu

Two men in their 70s remained in the hospital Wednesday after they were injured in a lightning strike at Cupsogue Beach County Park in Westhampton.

One of the men was bird-watching and the other was returning to his car with a basket of mussels when the storm rolled in Tuesday about 2:40 p.m. 

“There was a big, loud boom,” said David Lukert, 75, of East Moriches. “It knocked me off my feet. I have no recollection of it at all.”

The lightning strike also knocked over the birder, Gary Straus, 73, of Port Washington, whom Lukert had been talking with moments before.

Volunteers took them to Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead for observation. Lukert said Wednesday he felt fine and was hoping to be discharged soon.

Straus was transferred to Stony Brook Hospital Wednesday. His condition was not immediately available.

Heavy rains flooded parts of Long Island for the second time in four days Tuesday, with thunderstorms barreling across the region. And while the wet weather provided relief for lawns that have been water-starved, it was too much of a good thing for some.

Flooding closed the high-occupancy vehicle lane around the Searingtown road exit on the Long Island Expressway about 2:20 p.m. for about an hour, Nassau police said. In Elmont, firefighters had to pull two people out of their cars on the Southern State Parkway near Exit 19 after rains submerged the vehicles.

The afternoon's storms were widespread, though eastern Suffolk received more rain, said Matt Scalora, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Upton. As of 7:30 p.m., Westhampton Beach had received 1.99 inches, Scalora said. Islip recorded 0.43 inches, and Lido Beach had 0.9 inches.

 After receiving almost no rain since June 22, Long Island was drenched with up to 4 inches of rain Saturday, ending a weeklong heat wave.

With Mitchell Freedman

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