Kai Chenault, 6, pulls a toy boat as he walks...

Kai Chenault, 6, pulls a toy boat as he walks behind his mother on Bay Walk in Ocean Beach, Fire Island on Wednesday. Credit: Lauren Chenault

The storm overnight on Tuesday led to flooding at a LIPA substation at Ocean Beach on Fire Island Wednesday morning, causing PSEG to turn off power to the station just after 10 a.m. Wednesday, impacting about 1,700 customers, according to the utility.

PSEG by Wednesday afternoon was able to ferry a crew to Fire Island and inspect the substation, finding it had suffered no permanent damage. The substation was re-energized and power restored to customers by 2:30 p.m., PSEG said. 

But the power outage was  just part of the damage to the barrier island by the coastal storm. Fire Island residents said the system's high winds and storm surge left sand in the streets, washed out roads, flooded homes and potentially compromised the integrity of the island.

“What we’re seeing today is damage and water unlike anything since Sandy, and certain areas are worse than Sandy as far as the flooding and the overwash from the ocean,” said Tom Ruskin, president of the Seaview Association. 

And, as of Wednesday afternoon, there was no way on or off the island, Ruskin said.

Fire Island Ferries announced on its website Wednesday: “Due to flooding, all freight and passenger service is canceled until further notice.”

“This isn't just a Fire Island problem. This is a local problem,” Ruskin said of the storm damage. “The South Shore of Long Island is being protected by our barrier island. Could you imagine today, if the barrier island wasn’t there and the ocean was part of the bay, and it was hitting the South Shore?”

Henry Robin, president of the Fire Island Pines Property Owners Association, said Wednesday via email: "The most vulnerable areas of the community have suffered further damage, with what remained of the dunes in much of the western end of the community now completely washed away.”

Robin said he’s received reports of property damage in Fire Island Pines, although “they appear to be partial rather than complete loss of structures.”

“If the beaches are not repaired immediately, I am concerned that these washovers could become breaches in the next storm, compromising the integrity of the entire barrier island as a protective measure for the population centers of Long Island,” he added. “As is our greatest fear, if there were to be a fire or another emergency in the community, there would be inadequate beach for any of the neighboring communities to provide mutual aid.”

Fire Island has suffered severe erosion from a spate of storms in recent months, causing what first responders on the island have called a “ticking time bomb,” with fire departments blocked from traveling along the sand to provide mutual aid.

“Last night's storm was probably the most damaging storm we've had since Superstorm Sandy,” Brookhaven Councilman Neil Foley said, noting Fire Island suffered “severe erosion.”

There are no longer dunes in Fire Island Pines, where multiple homes were damaged, he said. 

“There is no protection in certain parts of Fire Island at all. If we get another storm like this, I can assure you, we'll lose dozens of homes, especially in the Pines. We are in a severe, critical, critical situation that in my 10 years of office we've never had,” Foley said.

Suffolk County and Town of Brookhaven officials have said they were willing to fund stopgap patching solutions to address the erosion on Fire Island, using existing permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The estimated cost for repairs is about $10 million, Foley said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is reconsidering a request from Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand for the federal agency to undertake a massive emergency sand replenishment project to repair damaged shorelines in Davis Park, Fire Island Pines and other shorefront areas of the barrier island.

The request, backed by a group of Fire Island homeowners, was rejected in October.

The storm overnight on Tuesday led to flooding at a LIPA substation at Ocean Beach on Fire Island Wednesday morning, causing PSEG to turn off power to the station just after 10 a.m. Wednesday, impacting about 1,700 customers, according to the utility.

PSEG by Wednesday afternoon was able to ferry a crew to Fire Island and inspect the substation, finding it had suffered no permanent damage. The substation was re-energized and power restored to customers by 2:30 p.m., PSEG said. 

But the power outage was  just part of the damage to the barrier island by the coastal storm. Fire Island residents said the system's high winds and storm surge left sand in the streets, washed out roads, flooded homes and potentially compromised the integrity of the island.

“What we’re seeing today is damage and water unlike anything since Sandy, and certain areas are worse than Sandy as far as the flooding and the overwash from the ocean,” said Tom Ruskin, president of the Seaview Association. 

And, as of Wednesday afternoon, there was no way on or off the island, Ruskin said.

Fire Island Ferries announced on its website Wednesday: “Due to flooding, all freight and passenger service is canceled until further notice.”

“This isn't just a Fire Island problem. This is a local problem,” Ruskin said of the storm damage. “The South Shore of Long Island is being protected by our barrier island. Could you imagine today, if the barrier island wasn’t there and the ocean was part of the bay, and it was hitting the South Shore?”

Henry Robin, president of the Fire Island Pines Property Owners Association, said Wednesday via email: "The most vulnerable areas of the community have suffered further damage, with what remained of the dunes in much of the western end of the community now completely washed away.”

Robin said he’s received reports of property damage in Fire Island Pines, although “they appear to be partial rather than complete loss of structures.”

“If the beaches are not repaired immediately, I am concerned that these washovers could become breaches in the next storm, compromising the integrity of the entire barrier island as a protective measure for the population centers of Long Island,” he added. “As is our greatest fear, if there were to be a fire or another emergency in the community, there would be inadequate beach for any of the neighboring communities to provide mutual aid.”

Fire Island has suffered severe erosion from a spate of storms in recent months, causing what first responders on the island have called a “ticking time bomb,” with fire departments blocked from traveling along the sand to provide mutual aid.

“Last night's storm was probably the most damaging storm we've had since Superstorm Sandy,” Brookhaven Councilman Neil Foley said, noting Fire Island suffered “severe erosion.”

There are no longer dunes in Fire Island Pines, where multiple homes were damaged, he said. 

“There is no protection in certain parts of Fire Island at all. If we get another storm like this, I can assure you, we'll lose dozens of homes, especially in the Pines. We are in a severe, critical, critical situation that in my 10 years of office we've never had,” Foley said.

Suffolk County and Town of Brookhaven officials have said they were willing to fund stopgap patching solutions to address the erosion on Fire Island, using existing permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The estimated cost for repairs is about $10 million, Foley said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is reconsidering a request from Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand for the federal agency to undertake a massive emergency sand replenishment project to repair damaged shorelines in Davis Park, Fire Island Pines and other shorefront areas of the barrier island.

The request, backed by a group of Fire Island homeowners, was rejected in October.

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LIRR COVID fraud suspensions … Trump trial: Day 8 … Islanders preview Credit: Newsday

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