As the normally tranquil Long Island Sound was whipped up into what looked like the Atlantic on a bad day, the homes lining the shore on Creek Road in Wading River appeared in perilous danger.
Wind gusts made it difficult to stand Monday morning at Wading River Beach as Hurricane Sandy roared toward the East Coast.
Later in the day, Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter worried some of the homes could be facing catastrophic damage as the water pounded the shoreline.
As day broke Tuesday and the heavy winds gave way to clear skies, relieved residents returned home to find their houses spared of any major damage.
“I was afraid to open this door,” said Lucille Ciano, a 30-year resident of Creek Road. “I was afraid to see.”
Siding from her neighbor’s roof blew off onto her property and some railings broke on her deck.
“Downstairs the house is fine,” she said. “We were lucky.”
The storm still caused major erosion as about 10-15 feet of a dune was wiped away. Flooding was still an issue Tuesday morning on the street and debris lined the beach. A deer carcass ended up only a few feet from the playground.
Linda Heller, who’s lived on Creek Road for 16 years, returned home to discover that so much land had been wiped away behind her home, the cesspool was exposed.
“I was very surprised to say the least,” she said. “You don’t expect to see your cesspool.”
Ms. Heller tried to ride out the storm from her home. But about midway through, her son, who’s a police officer, convinced her to come to his home nearby in Wading River.
She said it was the worst storm she’s experienced.
Ms. Ciano said Hurricane Sandy wasn’t as bad as the infamous Nor’easter from 1991, dubbed The Perfect Storm.
“This place was decimated,” she said.
Ms. Ciano said she could already see the water beginning to get rough early Sunday. She wasn’t about to stick around for the rest.
“I left about 2 o’clock,” she said. “I figured, what’s the sense? Not that I was afraid. But I figured what is to be is to be. It’s only making your stomach turn. There’s nothing you can do about it.”