This story was reported by John Asbury, Robert Brodsky, Matthew Chayes and Maureen Mullarkey. It was written by Brodsky.
A major coastal storm carved a damaging path from one end of Long Island to the other Monday, toppling trees, flooding roadways, and eroding beaches, including on Fire Island.
The storm, which moved out of the region by late Monday afternoon, caused major delays on the rails and in the skies. As of late Monday, there had been no serious storm-related crashes on Long Island roadways, according to the Nassau and Suffolk county police departments.
The flooding and erosion limited access to parts of Fire Island and community leaders called for state and federal assistance.
In Ocean Beach, police said up to two feet of standing water flooded streets but emergency vehicles were able to respond to calls.
“We got hammered. Today it went from bad to worse,” said Thomas Ruskin, president of the Seaview Fire Island Association. “Several of the crossovers in Seaview are now totally destroyed. It’s still wreaking havoc and we don’t know what tomorrow will bring.”
Several state parks, including Gilgo Beach, Jones Beach, Robert Moses and Hither Hills State Park in Montauk were forced to close because of “significant” flooding and beach erosion, said George Gorman, Long Island regional director for State Parks.
The flooding reached the sea wall and walkways at Jones Beach, including dunes near the central mall, although all park buildings were protected with sandbags, he said.
“We are extremely concerned at that location when the tide recedes,” Gorman said. “Since we do see cliff rock drop-off, we know we have lost dunes.”
At Zach's Bay, water crested the sea wall there and flooded walkways and the orchestra pit at the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater, Gorman said.
Forecasters had warned Long Islanders to prepare for a violent and potentially damaging storm.
Wind gusts reached 59 mph at Fire Island Airport and in Orient while Nassau topped out at 52 mph in Bayville, according to the National Weather Service in Upton.
Peak rain totals reached 2.74 inches in Muttontown and 2.5 inches at Montauk Airport, the weather service said.
Early Monday, PSEG Long Island reported 7,000 customers without power in an area from Cedarhurst in western Nassau to Southold in eastern Suffolk. The outages included Walt Whitman High School in South Huntington, which canceled classes for the day.
Outage numbers came down to less than 1,500 customers by 7 p.m., roughly 60% in Nassau, and primarily in the Town of Oyster Bay. Most customers, the utility said, would see their power restored by late-Monday or early Tuesday.
The storm also curtailed travel on the rails and at area airports.
Service on the Long Island Rail Road's Port Washington line was partially suspended Monday morning as crews removed a tree that had fallen on the tracks east of Great Neck.
A total of 167 flights were canceled in and out of LaGuardia Airport, according to FlightAware, a site that tracks airline delays. Kennedy Airport reported nearly 100 cancellations, while at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Islip, there were two.
The Cross Sound Ferry, meanwhile, canceled all of trips from New London, Connecticut and Orient Point.
The Bridgeport Port Jefferson Ferry canceled its early morning trips. Several passengers for the ferry's 9 a.m. Port Jefferson trip, which departed at its usual time, had few concerns, despite the heavy rain and high tides.
“I’m a big surfer, so this doesn’t phase me,” said Miller Brennan, who drove an hour from East Quogue to catch the ferry.
John Westerfelt of Connecticut was visiting his girlfriend on Long Island and said he regretted not taking the Sunday night ferry.
“I've been on it and similar weather, so I do trust the boat,” he said. “But I got to get home.”
Connie Cash, a barista at Local’s Café, near the ferry slip, said 10 to 15 patrons typically are there when they open Monday morning but only about five regulars stopped by.
“It’s been very slow,” she said. “I definitely can't blame people.”