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Long Island weather: Nor'easter brings coastal flooding, winds, heavy rain

A car makes its way down a flooded

A car makes its way down a flooded Dune Road in Quogue on Saturday. Credit: John Roca

The first nor’easter of the season hit Long Island on Saturday, bringing widespread moderate flooding throughout several coastal communities on the north and south shores — and localized, major coastal flooding in some places, forecasters said.

“We’ve passed high tide everywhere, so locations around the coast that saw some coastal flooding . . . those water levels should continue to recede this evening,” Faye Morrone, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Upton said late Saturday afternoon.

Light rain and drizzle are expected to continue across the Island through the night, Morrone said. Wind gusts also are dying down, but a coastal flood advisory was in effect for late Saturday night and into early Sunday morning as the next high tide comes in, she said.

“We’re not expecting anything nearly as high as what we saw this afternoon but you could still get a little bit of flooding in the most vulnerable locations along the coast tonight,” she said.

The weather service issued coastal flood warnings throughout the Island on Saturday afternoon, as well as a coastal flood advisory overnight along the South Shore, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday. There is a high surf advisory for the South Shore until 2 p.m. Sunday.

Accumulated rainfall was measured in the 1/2 to 1 inch range on western Long Island compared with more than 1 inch on eastern Long Island, she said. The National Weather Service said the high total rainfall for the Island was 1.85 inches in Riverhead by Saturday afternoon.

Morrone said that light rain and drizzle overnight is expected to clear up by Sunday morning. Sunday is expected to be partly sunny to cloudy but dry with a chance of rain in the evening and Monday morning. The sun is expected to come out Monday afternoon but rain may return Wednesday night and continue into Friday, she said.

The Long Island Rail Road reported flooding on the tracks near the Island Park station that caused the temporary suspension of service in both directions on the Long Beach Branch. The Oyster Bay station also had flooding, Morrone said. Riverhead and Jamesport had flooding, and several roads were closed in Port Washington, she said.

There was 2.5 to 3 feet of water along parts of the Nautical Mile at the southern waterfront end of Freeport, Morrone said.

“It’s the highest amount of water we’ve had since Sandy,” Freeport Mayor Robert T. Kennedy said. The village was one of the hardest hit areas on Long Island by superstorm Sandy in 2012.

The National Weather Service reported tide levels reached 7.15 feet in Freeport — considered “major flood stage,” with Point Lookout and East Rockaway falling just shy of reaching the “major” threshold, forecasters said.

High tides elsewhere also reached major flooding levels, rising to 7.47 feet in Peconic Bay in Riverhead.

Flooding also closed the causeway connecting Lloyd Harbor to Lloyd Neck about 1:30 p.m., according to Lloyd Harbor police.

In Southampton, waters from the Peconic River flooded a Riverhead park, submerging cars in a parking lot and rising to the top of picnic tables, Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said late Saturday afternoon. “It was three to four feet about normal level,” he said. He said the waters began to recede about 3:30 p.m.

Long Island state parks escaped with fairly minor damage from Saturday’s storm, with one main exception: Orient Beach State Park.

“Orient Beach State Park had a section of the roadway undermined, and an estimate of the damage is underway,” George Gorman, Long Island deputy regional director of the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, said by telephone.

As can happen with such storms, the orchestra seats at Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater were flooded. Sunken Meadow Creek overflowed at that park’s Fields 2 and 3, and at Wildwood State Park, there was flooding below the beachfront bathhouse, which will have to be examined by engineers to determine if there was any structural damage, Gorman said.

Surf swells as high as 10 feet were reported at Montauk Point during the midafternoon high tide; at Jones Beach and Robert Moses waves reached around 6 to 8 feet, he said.

Gilgo State Park, closed due to erosion for the past few years, is fine, he said.

Suffolk County police also reported flooding in Lindenhurst, Copiague, Eaton’s Neck, Setauket and Stony Brook, as well as on the westbound Sunrise Highway by the Oakdale merge.

In Island Park, Mayor Michael McGinty said people from two vehicles that became stuck in the flooding were rescued without injuries.

“This was not a normal high tide,” McGinty said.

McGinty said officials had been knocking on residents’ doors to check up on them and some basements had flooded.

“When you have a nor’easter blowing in a rising moon or a waning moon there are going to be difficulties and today was just such a day, McGinty said.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Nelson Vaz said the coastal flooding was “on the higher end of some of the nor’easters we’ve had.”

“We haven’t seen these levels in a couple years,” he said. “It’s nothing close to Sandy, but this comes from a combination of strong winds and a full moon earlier this week creating high tides.”

Nearly 1,200 customers Islandwide were still affected by power outages Saturday night, PSEG Long Island reported at 8:30 p.m. There were also delays at LaGuardia and Kennedy airports in Queens, the Federal Aviation Administration reported.

Wind gusts reached highs of 60 mph in Bayville and Shinnecock, 47 mph in Long Beach, 44 mph at Jones Beach, 66 mph at Amagansett, and 65 at Great Gull Island, according to the service. By 4 p.m. winds had, for the most part, started dying down, Morrone said.

As the coastal storm moves north into New England and some sun returns on Sunday,

runners in the Suffolk County Marathon will see a “much nicer but cool” day, said News 12 Long Island meteorologist Bruce Avery. Sunday will be mainly dry with late morning and afternoon sunshine and high temperatures again in the mid- to upper 50s, according to the weather service.

With Ted Phillips, John Asbury and Joan Gralla

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