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Riverhead spared worst of nor’easter that pounded region

03/03/2018 1:21 PM |

For the most part, the North Fork dodged a bullet from Friday’s Nor’easter that dropped between 2.5 and 3.5 inches of rain and had wind gusts as high as 65 mph in some places. 

“If that rain had been snow, we would have had about two feet of snow,” said Riverhead Highway Superintendent George Woodson.

And according to National Weather Service meteorologist David Stark, it came very close to being snow.

“The temperatures were close to freezing,” he said Saturday morning. “But there really wasn’t a true cold air source.”

The temperatures were in the upper 30s and lower 40s, he said. There were reports of snow in western Suffolk and Nassau counties, but it was not accumulating.”

He said there was snow at Brookhaven National Lab, where the weather service is based.

While there is a coastal flood warning in effect until 4 a.m. Sunday, Mr. Stark said winds will be gradually dropping to 20 to 30 mph Saturday night.

Flooding on the Peconic Riverfront in downtown Riverhead. (Credit: Kelly Zegers photos)


Riverhead Police reports showed seven downed trees or tree branches on Friday, including a branch that fell on a car at about 1 p.m., damaging the vehicle.

Police also reported some downed wires and power outages, and a couple of traffic signals still weren’t working by Saturday morning.

Mr. Woodson said the fallen trees were removed quickly and his department’s program for removing trees that are leaning over the roads before they fall has paid off.

“I thought it would have been worse,” Mr. Woodson said of the storm. “Maybe in some places it was, but we were spared.”

He said Creek Road in Wading River continued to be a problem with flooding and he reiterated that the town is trying to get a grant to raise that road.

Also at the Roanoke Landing beach, the water washed out the base of the ramp onto the beach, leaving a four or five-foot drop from the bottom of the ramp to the beach.

The town’s Peconic River parking lot flooded Friday, as it often does.

Waves crash the beach at Founder’s Landing in Southold. (Credit: Krysten Massa)


The Hashamomuck Cove area in Southold was one place that was not spared. The Cove, which had already taken a beating in the Jan. 4 blizzard and which has been taking a beating over the years, took another one on Friday.

“It’s not much better today,” resident Lynn Laskos said Saturday. “The houses that were damaged by the blizzard, and that are still waiting for their (repair) permits to be approved, they are even more damaged now.

“The whole corner west of my house is just a debris field and, right now, the water is eating away those people’s bluffs,” she added.

A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project to protect the Cove has a $17.7 million price tag, and is still in need of a local match for the federal dollars, which could be town, county or state money.

Ms. Laskos has argued that if a breach is caused at Route 48, which is right next to the cove on one side and Hashamomuck Pond on the other, there’s a serious chance the town could be split in half.

Elsewhere in Southold Town, Friday’s storm didn’t seem to cause must damage, officials said.

“All in all, not too bad,” said Southold Town Police Chief Martin Flatley. “We had some minor flooding, but no evacuations. Some trees and wires were down and last evening we had some power outages, mostly in East Marion and Orient.”

Power for the most part was restored fairly quickly, he said.

“We had localized flooding and some beach erosion as expected,” Southold Supervisor Scott Russell added. “Obviously we had scattered power outages. In the Greenport-East Marion area, we had about 1,359 houses out at the same time, and about 2,200 out at one point or another during the storm. As of this morning (Saturday), there were only about 40 still out.”

He said there was no significant property damage reported, although he had not yet gotten a report on Hashamomuck Cove.

However, he added that many of the coastal areas are seasonal, so it’s possible that owners haven’t been able to inspect their properties yet.

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