Update: Power had been restored to all but 63 LIPA customers in Riverhead Town as of 3 p.m. Thursday. Power was restored to Riverhead Town Hall and the police and Justice Court building about 10:30 a.m., after almost an hour in the dark.
A string of powerful overnight storms left thousands in the Riverhead area without power Thursday morning, with the number of reported LIPA outages jumping from about 300 at 8 a.m. to almost 1,800 just before 10 a.m. as LIPA worked to restore services.
Riverhead Town Hall and the adjacent police station and Justice Court building lost power about 9:45 a.m., leaving a public Town Board work session of proceed in the dark for almost an hour.
Less than 10 outages were reported in Flanders and Riverside, according to the LIPA power outages map.
The National Weather Service had issued a wind advisory and is warned motorists to be careful of downed trees and power lines. Wind gusts that reached up to 55 mph overnight were expected to taper off around sunrise.
“Strong winds can make driving difficult,” the advisory reads. “Especially for high-profile vehicles.”
Although about a dozen trees were down throughout town, no major flooding was reported from the heavy rains dumped across the region, highway officials said.
“It started about about 4 a.m.; we had about five trees down,” said Riverhead highway superintendent George “Gio” Woodson. “And then we had another three or four down but we had crews out there and got everything opened up long before traffic started.”
But, he said, the town was still waiting for power lines to be cleared from Middle Road, between Ostrander Avenue and Northville Turnpike, where some big branches took down the electrical lines, closing the road in that area.
Middle Road opened in the early afternoon, highway officials said.
He said a big tree also took down power lines on Peninsula Path, which is a small road off Ostrander Avenue in Riverhead, affecting traffic there as well.
As to the severity of the inclement weather, which brought thunder and lighting to the area less than two weeks before winter, Mr. Woodson said, “It woke me up; I was sleeping pretty good for one thing. But we deal with it.”