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Nov 1, 2012 4:11 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Officials Discuss Status Of Town After Sandy

Nov 2, 2012 12:43 PM

After surveying the widespread damage left on the East End in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Southampton Town officials met on Thursday morning to share information they have gleaned about the extent of the damage, recovery efforts and advice to residents in the coming days and, likely, weeks that it will take to clean up the damage.

More than two dozen roads townwide remain blocked by fallen trees and power lines, many areas of the town oceanfront are devastated and buried under mountains of sand and a host of dangers face homeowners as the clean-up moves forward, officials from the town’s various public safety agencies said.

Some of the most pressing dangers facing residents will come as power supplies are gradually restored. Public Safety Administrator Cheryl Kraft said that as power is returned to the region, neighborhood by neighborhood, there will be an increasing danger of fires caused by damaged electrical systems, especially at residences and buildings impacted by saltwater flooding. There have already been six structure fires in the town’s areas of jurisdiction that she said were directly attributable to the storm.

“With grids being energized there’s the potential for more of that,” Ms. Kraft told the board. “Saltwater damage to power supplies is very dangerous. People should unplug [appliances] so there is not too large of a load when the power comes on.”

Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone echoed that the Long Island Power Authority has recommended that anyone without power, especially those who suspect there may have been water damage to their electrical system, turn off the main circuit breaker on their electrical panel and then shut off each individual breaker as well. When power is returned the main breaker can be turned on and then each breaker turned on one at a time if no sign of a problem arises, gradually increasing the load. Ms. Kraft noted that was good advice, with the additional caveat that if a homeowner has standing water in their basement, they should not attempt to reach their circuit breakers.

Homeowners who think that their house may have suffered electrical system damage can call the town supervisor’s office at 283-6055 and request that a town fire marshal do an assessment of their system. Assessments will only be given in the instance of water intrusion, not damage to the rest of a house.

Town Police Captain Robert Pearce said that rumors of a rash of burglaries in the wake of power outages have proved to be untrue.

Capt. Pearce said that Town Police are now concerned with protecting vacant homes, especially those on the stretches of Dune Road that cannot be reached because roadways are buried under sand where the ocean over-washed the dunes during the storm.

“When I was on Dune Road, there were plenty of other people on Dune Road too...they’re able to access by water,” Capt. Pearce said, noting that Quogue Village has opened its bridges to Dune Road but that the town is keeping Ponquogue Bridge closed indefinitely to restrict access to the area. “My next main concern will be home security.”

Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said that the town must wait for the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct their assessments of the damage to beaches along the oceanfront before highway crews can begin bulldozing the sand that now covers Dune Road back onto the beachhead and reshaping the man-made dunes that offer some forms of protection to the narrow barrier beach.

The region immediately west of Shinnecock Inlet was due to receive more than 100,000 tons of sand dredged from Shinnecock Inlet this winter to bolster it’s protective beaches. While that sand deposit may be too late to be protection from Sandy’s wrath, it could be a critical component to protecting the area in the near future with the beaches now withered and dunes erased. But town Environmental Analyst Marty Shea said the Army Corps will have to reevaluate the project’s scope now, in light of the change in conditions from Sandy. He said it’s not known how the storm might have changed the conditions in the inlet that might make the project more complicated than anticipated.

Army Corps of Engineers officials were on the East End surveying damage in several areas on Thursday, Ms. Throne-Holst said.

Town officials toured the devastation meted out on the East End by Sandy on Tuesday and Wednesday. The areas along the ocean front, predictably, sustained the most direct structural damage to homes and structures, including several that were nearly or completely destroyed. The supervisor displayed photos that she took during an aerial survey on Wednesday with the Air National Guard 106th Rescue Wing that showed several of the fan-shaped overwashes, where the storm flattened dunes and pushed their sand inland across Dune Road or into properties in Water Mill and Sagaponack. Town Planning and Development Administrator Kyle Collins showed photos he took in Sagaponack, where storm waves ate away as much as 50 feet of dunes and slammed into houses, blowing out first floor windows and door, ripping off decking and battering foundations.

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Leaders should lead not have meeting after 4 days.
By Obserever (40), Southnampton on Nov 1, 12 7:42 PM

the first sentence of page 2 should read : Mr. Collins said that homeowners are being allowed to truck in new sand to cover foundations, as long as inspectors HAVE determined that the structural integrity of the house hasn’t been compromised.
By PrivateerMatt (390), Weesuck Creek , EQ on Nov 1, 12 9:47 PM
1 member liked this comment
Or : Mr. Collins said that homeowners are being allowed to truck in new sand to cover foundations, as long as inspectors haven’t determined that the structural integrity of the house HAS been compromised.
By PrivateerMatt (390), Weesuck Creek , EQ on Nov 1, 12 9:56 PM
1 member liked this comment
Seems to be quite a few mistakes lately.

Matt did you notice the article on the scallop season delay in which Mr. Wright wrote that the Red Tide had started in Shinnecock Bay and went through the Shinnecock Canal into the Peaconic bay? I found that interesting considering the water doesn't flow that way it is the exact opposite of that! Something like that should be known by a reporter covering this area....
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Nov 7, 12 2:59 AM
A slight correction here -- the locks do indeed permit water to flow primarily from Peconic Bay into Shinnecock Bay, and they are generally closed when the tide in Shinnecock is higher.

At the changing of the tides, however, there are times when the locks are open, and water from Shinnecock Bay can flow into Peconic, especially on the micro-organism level of life such as algae.

Indeed, the locks are never "water-tight" at any time, so the migration of an organism from Shinnecock ...more
By PBR (4940), Southampton on Nov 7, 12 5:24 AM
If you are worried about the homes on dune road, block the road heading west on dune road. I think they should open up ponquogue bridge so people can at least visit the beach. After all that is the main attraction in the area. The bass fall run is happening and people love walking over the bridge for exercise.
By fish sticks (53), hampton bays on Nov 9, 12 5:48 AM
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