Crews from the Town of Southampton moved sand into mounds...

Crews from the Town of Southampton moved sand into mounds Thursday on a flooded patch of roadway on Dune Road. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

Southampton Town's supervisor declared a state of emergency Thursday as town and county crews worked to prevent a breach of Atlantic Ocean water into Shinnecock Bay just west of Tiana Beach in Hampton Bays.

Ryan Murphy, Southampton's public safety emergency management administrator, described the incident as a "washover" caused by Hurricane Lee.

Officials closed a section of Dune Road that runs parallel to the ocean, he said.

The hurricane, while not expected to make landfall on Long Island, still is causing dangerous surf and rip current conditions along much of the East Coast, according to the National Hurricane Center.

A coastal flood advisory will remain in effect along Long Island's South Shore through 3 a.m. Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. A high surf advisory also will remain in effect until 8 p.m. Saturday. Waves are expected to gradually subside through the weekend, according to the weather service.

Murphy said crews with the town's highway department and Suffolk County Department of Public Works were "moving sand around to try and fortify and rebuild areas of the dune" on Thursday.

He described the operation as "mitigation measures" to prevent a "much worse scenario" as the hurricane moves up the coast.

Supervisor Jay Schneiderman announced at the start of Thursday's town board meeting that he had declared the state of emergency and been in contact with county officials.

Schneiderman said the affected area already has "sort of a missing section of dune to begin with" and waves were "rushing" under a house on pilings "creating a bit of a river to the bay."

The supervisor also described the operation that was in progress Thursday.

"We have large truckloads of sand already being brought into that area," Schneiderman added. "We are doing everything we can to prevent it from getting worse in that area."

Murphy emphasized the washover hadn't yet become a breach, which the National Park Service describes as "channels connecting ocean to bay which form during powerful storms."

In 2012, Superstorm Sandy caused a breach of Fire Island west of Smith Point.

Officials hadn't ordered any evacuations of nearby homes as of 5 p.m. Thursday. Murphy said at least one home near the washover is occupied.

The emergency management official said the road closure was to allow municipal trucks to operate freely in the area as well as due to some earlier flooding. He said the flooding subsided during low tide and as the crews began to add sand to the area of the washover.

Murphy said the operation would continue, noting that work on the ocean side would become more challenging as high tide approached at night, when waves could double in size.

The state of emergency, which covers areas of East Quogue, Hampton Bays and any other barrier island locations, is scheduled to remain in effect through Monday.

The declaration authorized Southampton officials "to take whatever actions are necessary to protect life and property and public infrastructure and to perform other such emergency assistance as deemed necessary."

Separately, East Hampton Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said in a statement that his town wasn't experiencing severe conditions from high surf Thursday.

“We are continuing to monitor impacts and are planning to build a sand berm at the end of South Edison Street in Montauk, which is prone to overwash and flooding,” he added.

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