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Nor'easter departs, leaving record-setting rain with next batch to come Friday

Ducks swim in floodwaters by the Peconic Riverwalk

Ducks swim in floodwaters by the Peconic Riverwalk in Riverhead on Wednesday. Credit: Randee Daddona

Record-setting rain totals blanketed parts of Long Island as this week's nor'easter led to major flooding in some East End towns, but the region largely avoided the major power outages that affected other parts of the Northeast.

During a 48-hour period from midday Monday through noon on Wednesday, 6.82 inches of rain fell in Ridge while 6.45 inches of rain drenched the residents of Centereach and St. James, according to totals from the National Weather Service.

Nassau's highest rain total was in Albertson, where just over 5 inches fell in 48 hours.

Meanwhile, Tuesday was "the wettest day in Islip in over 10 years, since 2011 with [Hurricane] Irene," said weather service meteorologist Dominic Ramunni.

The 4.47 inches of rain recorded in Islip Tuesday was almost three times the previous 1981 record of 1.5 inches, the weather service said.

Southold Highway Superintendent Vincent Orlando said the storm caused major flooding issues in some spots, most notably on Main Bayview Road.

"When you get 4 inches of rain and a high tide, we had a few places and roads where the bay actually crested onto the roads and went onto people’s properties," Orlando said. "There was some major flooding but we were pumping with our vacuum trucks till dark last night and we did the same all day [Wednesday] and will work again till dark."

The town, he said, responded to only four fallen trees as winds peaked at 49 mph.

"Luckily there were minimal trees down," Orlando said. "If we had both we would have been in trouble."

George Gorman Jr., regional director of the state parks office, said there was some beach erosion in Orient, at Wildwood State Park in Wading River and at Gilgo Beach near the old Coast Guard station.

"We had some minor erosion but nothing concerning whatsoever," Gorman said.

Some Long Island parks had delayed openings Wednesday because of winds while state golf courses at state parks were closed because of flooding, Gorman said.

In New York City, 3.41 inches of rain fell during the nor'easter at Kennedy Airport, breaking the 2002 record of 1.34 inches, while Central Park experienced 3.66 inches.

While the rain set records, the storm's gusty winds did minimal damages with few reports of downed trees and PSEG Long Island reporting just 300 customers without power as of 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Comparatively, the storm caused half a million Massachusetts residents to lose power.

The wind was a factor for some places, mostly eastern Suffolk, but eased Wednesday night. High wind warnings for the Island expired Wednesday afternoon.

In Suffolk, wind gusts Wednesday morning ranged from 42 mph in Brookhaven up to 73 mph in Stony Brook, the weather service said. Most places in Suffolk experienced gusts in the mid- to high 40s and 50s.

In Nassau, winds topped 41 mph in Bayville. The winds were calmer at Central Park, with the highest speed hitting 29 mph, Ramunni said.

A coastal flood advisory was set to expire at 7 p.m. Wednesday for eastern and southwestern Suffolk and southern Nassau counties, the weather service said.

Skies are expected to clear Thursday with partly sunny conditions with a high of 58 degrees before the next batch of rain arrives Friday into Saturday, forecasters said.

On Saturday, the odds of rain are 80%, mainly before 2 p.m., with a 30% chance of rain Saturday evening.

Until Friday, daytime temperatures will struggle to lift out of the 50s. After that, the low to mid-60s are expected to be reached. Similarly, nighttime lows will drop into the mid-40s and warm up to the 50s or so by the weekend.

Halloween on Sunday should be sunny, as should Monday and Tuesday, according to the weather service.

With Joan Gralla

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