Public menorah ceremony canceled; 400 without power due to storms

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Rebecca Siemers, 6, lights the first Hannukah candle with the help of her mother Deborah Sterne, wife of Rabbi William Siemers (background left) in the basement of Temple Israel in Riverhead Wednesday evening.

The continued pounding of Suffolk County by bands of heavy rains, with wind gusts of almost 40 mph, has forced the cancellation of tonight’s planned 6 p.m. public menorah lighting ceremony in the riverfront park in downtown Riverhead. It’s also left almost 400 Riverhead residents without power, according to LIPA figures.

“As you can see outside the window, it’s not a good night [for the ceremony],” said Rabbi William Siemers of Temple Israel of Riverhead, which was hosting the event.

“We’re going to continue to light the menorah as the weather improves though,” he added.

A smaller ceremony was held indoors. Contact Temple Israel at 727-3191 for additional information.

As for power outages, LIPA outage maps show 394 customers are in the dark in neighborhoods just north of Main Street in downtown Riverhead and another nine customers were without electricity in South Jamsport. Power was expected to be restored to the Riverhead area by about 7:30 p.m., and about 6 p.m. in South Jamsport.

The National Weather Service has issued a statement saying winds gusts could reach 55 mph as the storms continue to cross the region tonight, with rainfall rates reaching up to 1 inch per hour. The NWS warned of minor flooding and ponding of roadways. The storms are expected to taper off overnight.