A powerful storm has caused widespread damage across the South Shore of Long Island and what one town supervisor called "the worst flooding" he'd seen other than Superstorm Sandy.

This story was reported by John AsburyRobert Brodsky, Matthew Chayes, Vera ChineseMark Harrington, Brianne Ledda, Carl MacGowanLorena Mongelli, Maureen Mullarkey and Joe Werkmeister. It was written by Brodsky.

A weather system packing high winds, heavy rain and a powerful storm surge caused widespread damage across the South Shore of Long Island overnight during what one town supervisor called “the worst flooding” he'd seen since Superstorm Sandy.

The storm flooded many residential and commercial communities, eroded state beaches, made major roadways temporarily impassible and left thousands in the dark. And while the system impacted both shores, much of its wrath was focused on the Island's southern coastline in yet another in a series of coastal storms that have battered Long Island.

Bryan Ramsey, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Upton, estimated that 2½ to 3 inches of rain had fallen on the Island. The highest winds gusts were recorded along the ocean and coastline — about 65 mph, he said. A wind advisory remains for Wednesday until 8 p.m. with winds of 25 to 35 mph and gusts of 50 mph, the weather service said. 

PSEG Long Island restored power to more than 26,000 customers since late Tuesday afternoon and expected to turn it back by the end of the day for the nearly 400 customers remaining as of 5:25 p.m. Wednesday. Those without power should call 800-490-0075, the utility said.

On Wednesday afternoon, new Suffolk County Executive Edward Romaine called on Gov. Kathy Hochul to declare a State of Emergency for Suffolk, said county spokesman Mike Martino.

“The county executive has made a verbal request to the governor’s office for a state of emergency,” said Romaine spokesman Mike Martino. “The governor is reviewing that request,” and has 30 days to make a determination. The status would mean eligibility for more federal and state aid for storm recovery.

Romaine and his counterpart, Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, have previously declared states of emergencies in their respective counties.

The storm also raised serious new concerns for Fire Island. 

A breach cutting through the barrier island led to flooding at a LIPA substation at Ocean Beach Wednesday morning, and that led PSEG to “de-energize,” or turn off, power to the station just after 10 a.m. Wednesday, impacting some 1,700 customers, said David Lyons, interim president and chief operating officer of PSEG Long Island, which operates the system.

Power was restored Wednesday afternoon at 2:32 p.m., PSEG Long Island said.

Other South Shore towns are also reeling.

This is “the worst flooding on the South Shore that I have ever seen outside of Superstorm Sandy,” said Brookhaven Supervisor Dan Panico, who declared a State of Emergency in the town.

Flooding at the intersection of South Ocean Avenue and Harrison Street in...

Flooding at the intersection of South Ocean Avenue and Harrison Street in Patchogue Wednesday morning.  Credit: Tom Lambui

Bellport Mayor Maureen Veitch said the village’s dock at the end of Bellport Lane appears to have sustained significant damage, adding more would be known later when workers inspect the damage.

In Freeport, several residential side streets, including South Ocean Avenue near Adams Street, remained impassible until the waters finally began to recede Wednesday afternoon. A fish was seen swimming in the foot-deep murky waters, not far from a stranded BMW.

Deidre Vinson, who lives near that intersection and has four children ranging from 4 to 13, said she's tired of having to deal with the disruption the rain or high tide brings.

“As soon as it rains the expectation is my kids can't go to school and I can't get out my front door,” who moved to the area in 2020. “I have to move. It's too stressful. It's ridiculous and it's not getting better.”

William Edwards, 62, who lives on Cedar Street, where the water reached his front step, said he's also planning to sell his home.

“I'm getting tired of it,” he said. “I had to move my cars. I had to take care of things. It's been like this for 62 years.” 

Hugh Carroll, owner of Halfway Down bar and grill on Woodcleft Avenue, escaped significant damage as the eatery sits higher than the road, preventing water from the overflowing canal to pour inside.

“I'm lucky because I'm higher up but some of these other businesses that are lower get flooded,” said Carroll, who pointed to a small dumpster that he believes floated from another location.

“I don't know how it got there,” he said. “It wasn't there yesterday.”

Longtime resident John Vidas said the Nautical Mile, where he owns a commercial building, was heavily flooded.

“This was all underwater,” he said of the busy commercial district. “About a foot.”

Nearby, sections of the John J. Randall Park turned into a lagoon, along with several surrounding roads.

Uniondale resident Jonaah Larosiliere, who works near the park, rushed out early Wednesday to move his car from the flooded roadway.

“I pulled up my pants, took my socks off and walked to my car and I drove it off,” he said. “It was a big risk but either that or I lose it. And I don't want to lose it.”

Flooding near the corner of Shields Court and Bellhaven Road in Brookhaven...

Flooding near the corner of Shields Court and Bellhaven Road in Brookhaven on Wednesday. Credit: Clare Cunniffe

The situation was also dire in Patchogue where Mayor Paul Pontieri declared a local state of emergency Wednesday, prohibiting vehicles from driving or parking on flooded roadways.

It was “a pretty rough day,” Pontieri said, adding that it would take another day for water to recede.

John Sarno, owner of Drift 82 on Brightwood Street in Patchogue, said the business was “underwater” for the second time in three weeks, after sustaining major damage during a December storm.

“Our cleaning crew will come in tomorrow and barring any significant floor damage, we should be open by Friday,” he said.

David Kennedy, president of the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce, said Main Street, the villages' primary business district, is far enough from the water and was spared major flood damage flooding.

Ben Randone, who lives on South Ocean Avenue in Patchogue, near Shorefront Park, took off from work after the front of his house was flooded.

“This is the worst we’ve seen since Sandy,” Randone said, adding that many of his neighbors sustained water infiltration to their basements although the inside of his home was largely unscathed.

In Babylon Town, officials were breathing a sigh of relief Wednesday as a playground and pavilion at Overlook Town Beach, which were expected to be destroyed in the storm, survived.

But just barely.

“The surf line is right at both,” said Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer.

In Lindenhurst, Joanne Dougherty barely made it past a flooded section of South Wellwood Avenue in her Hyundai sedan.

“I wasn't sure I would make it,” said Dougherty, who lives on Bayview Avenue East. “ … I went to sleep around 12 and I woke up at 9 a.m. and I couldn't believe it. It was like I was in the middle of the bay.”

Jim Buonagura said water seeped into the garage of his Atlantic Street home in Lindenhurst.

“Between the winds, the rain, the new moon; everything worked against us,” he said, “for the perfect mini-Sandy.”

But still, he said his family moved into the area nearly three years ago aware of the risks.

“You buy, knowing you are getting the waterfront lifestyle, so you have to take the good with the bad,” Buonagura said. “We've gone through seven to eight floods. It usually stops around my driveway.”

Meanwhile, Amazon delivery worker Naveen Nandigum, 23, was still delivering packages in flooded zones.

He parked his vehicle on Atlantic Street near Bayview Avenue West, unwilling to risk traversing in the foot-deep standing waters at the intersection.

“This is probably one of the worst I've seen,” he said.

Long Island's already battered shoreline and state parks also suffered extensive damage, particularly on the South Shore.

At Jones Beach, the flooding was “extensive,” including the entire beachfront, from Field 2 to Field 6, parts of the central mall, fishing pier, West End Area boat basin, West Bathhouse, the sanitation plant and in the orchestra area of the theater, said George Gorman, regional director of New York State parks on Long Island.

Elsewhere, new sand that was dumped at the entrance to Gilgo Beach eroded along with several established dunes, he said. Erosion issues were also reported at Robert Moses, Hither Hills, Orient, Captree and Camp Hero state parks, he said.

“We're still seeing significant wave action and significant flooding but it is receding," Gorman said. 

Miguel Cevero, 55, of Mastic Beach, said he weathered the storm overnight, but by Wednesday morning, high tide flooded the street up to his front door on Montauk Drive. The street remained flooded in front of a row of houses, making it impassable for about a quarter mile to the water on Narrow Bay between Smith Point.

“This morning the water just came up the street,” Cevero said as he hosed off his truck. “I just kept it out of my house with sandbags.”

Cevero said he spent the day helping neighbors pump water out of their homes, tow cars stuck in the mud or water and helped children get off the school bus.

He said this storm was the most severe yet this winter, bringing two inches more water than storms in recent weeks. The region, he said, had greater flooding due to a breached inlet.

“I’m used to it,” Cevero said. “This is part of waterfront living.”

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