UPDATE: Thursday, 12 p.m.
Wednesday night’s storm appears to have caused extensive erosion along the oceanfront of eastern Long Island, particularly in areas that were already severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy and the early November nor’easter.
In areas of Hampton Bays, Quogue, Bridgehampton and Sagaponack, the storm waves and exaggerated tides washed away thousands of tons of sand that had been trucked onto beaches to bolster decimated dunes. Consultants who were surveying damage on Thursday said that there was extensive additional loss of the remnants of natural dunes during this storm as well.
“The biggest problem we’re having with these storms now is that [Sandy] dropped the elevation of the beach several feet, so when the storms come in, [waves] just slam straight into the dunes and the residences,” said Steven Mezynieski, an excavation contractor who helped several homeowners rebuild dunes following Sandy. “I’d say probably half the sand that was trucked in is gone.”
It is not clear if there were any washovers of the barrier islands in the western portion of Southampton Town, though one consultant said there were several places on Fire Island where the ocean again flowed across the beaches and bayside marshes where dunes were flattened by Sandy.
“On Fire Island there were overwashes again,” said Chuck Bowman, owner of the environmental engineering firm Land Use. “Tides are very high again, and there are no dunes.”
Southampton Town Police Sergeant Herbert Johnson said there was no major destruction otherwise, but a few power lines did go down overnight. A downed tree near Seabreeze Avenue and Montauk Highway in Westhampton pulled down some lines there, and other lines came down near Wakeman Avenue and Palo Alto Drive in Hampton Bays and Deerfield Road in Water Mill.
Southampton Fire Department Captain Chris Brenner said his department received only two calls on Wednesday, neither of which was storm related.
A winter storm will deliver a mix of heavy rain and sleet, powerful winds, and possibly coastal flooding to the region beginning Wednesday evening, according to the National Weather Service.
Eastern Long Island can anticipate a brief period of rain and sleet beginning late afternoon on Wednesday, which will morph into heavy rains of up to 2 inches in some areas and high winds that will last until Thursday afternoon, according to Chris Vaccaro, a National Weather Service spokesman based in Washington, D.C..
The storm began in Texas on Christmas morning, delivering thunderstorms and tornadoes to the region. It blanketed the Oklahoma and Arkansas region with heavy snow, created blizzard conditions in the Midwest, and pounded the mid-Atlantic with a wintery mix of snow, sleet and heavy rainfall, Mr. Vaccaro said.
Winds ranging from 25 to 40 mph with gusts of up to 60 mph are expected from 4 p.m. this afternoon up until 6 a.m. on Thursday, according to the alerts issued by the National Weather Service on its website early this morning. The strongest winds are expected this evening through tonight, it states.
“Winds of this magnitude will likely down trees and tree limbs … power lines and holiday decorations … and cause minor property damage,” the message states. “Power outages are possible. Driving high-profile vehicles will be difficult … especially on elevated roadways and bridges.”
A coastal flood advisory has been issued for the region from 6 to 10 p.m. for low-lying areas coastal areas along the ocean and southern and eastern bays of New York City and Long Island. Beach erosion is expected tonight and tomorrow morning.
The storm will exhibit nor’easter-like conditions, but the National Weather Service is stopping short of labeling it as such, since it is “more of an interior storm,” Mr. Vaccaro said. “But in terms of impacts, it would be very similar to what you’d expect from a coastal nor’easter.”