Calm After The Storm – Hurricane Irene

Calm After The Storm
Eva Winifred

It was business as usual for much of Fire Island on Tuesday afternoon, just two days after Hurricane Irene pelted the barrier island with up to 70mph winds and far higher than normal tides.

LIPA restored power to the island on Monday and local town authorities worked through the day to remove downed tree branches and clear debris. Videos on the internet showed walkways in Ocean Bay Park turned to rivers just the day before, as overflow from Great South Bay and the Atlantic Ocean met with rainfall and winds from Irene. Residents were allowed back onto the island on Tuesday morning, with many catching the first ferry out at 7am. By 4pm, little evidence remained that a hurricane had passed at all.

Huge brown puddles remained on Baywalk in Ocean Bay Park, just outside the market and on several side streets. Several visitors donned rainboots and walked swiftly through 6-10 inches of standing water. Over at the Seashore Condo Motel, proprietor Jeremy Geard noted thankfully, “We were all lucky – no damage and the water’s going down already. Looks good!” Geard further noted that once power was restored, there were no issues with phone, internet or satellite, unlike some boroughs of NYC and on Long Island. At the Bayshore ferry docks, one Sayville family was heard to remark “I have no power or phone at home, so I’m off to the beach, where everything’s okay.”

Beach access at Oneida showed the ocean depositing several feet of sand across the area, with the dunes covered anew. Wooden fencing washed onto the dune road, twisted like candy wrappers, while staircases were buried to the 4th and 5th step in sand. At evening high tide, the water reached a high mark only 10 yards from them.

Further west in Seaview, Irene left virtually no mark.

“It wasn’t so bad, just like a bad rainstorm. When they cut off power, we turned on the generator, made coffee, and whoever was around came in for some,” summarized Lynn, owner at the Seaview Market. “We didn’t get the flooding Ocean Beach and OBP got.”

Indeed, Seaview was the perfect picture of an undisturbed beach town, enjoying its last weeks of the season. Only two houses on the bay remained boarded up at all. Music floated from backyards and children pedaled along on bicycles, laughing and calling for a lost puppy named “Rover”.

Still further west in Ocean Beach, the entire dock area outside the Ocean Beach police station was shown on Sunday to be underwater with rain and overflow from the bay. But by Tuesday afternoon, only small pools remained and shops along the main strip buzzed with activity and lazy summer laughter. Over at CJ’s, a staffer worked diligently to remove adhesive residue on a glass door – the giant “X” stubbornly remained long after its silvery duct tape was removed.

As Wednesday dawns, Fire Island is back to normal signs of life. Bicycle bells warn the 8am joggers and pleasant morning greetings pass at the Ocean Bay Park market. Despite reported washovers and temporary evacuation inconvenience, the resilient island is back to pre-Irene paradise.

Friends of shared: stories, news, images and videos throughout the storm, proving that sometimes the most reliable source of information comes from our peers.

The following video was shared using the Fire Island iPhone App.
This free application has updated Ferry schedules, Long Island Rail Schedules, Events, Pictures, Videos and more. Over 40,000 people have downloaded the Fire Island app since it was released in 2010.

The picture set below came from users of the Fire Island iPhone App as well as through our Fire Island Facebook group that now has over 12,000 fans.
Missing PhotoSmash gallery: 12