Sunday, September 18, 2011

Better Late Than Never - Hurricane Irene Views

Hurricane Irene, Brookhaven Hamlet, NY, 27-28 Aug 2011
Some Views of Brookhaven Hamlet Following Irene,
27-28 August, 2011
Hurricane Irene, by the time it made landfall on Long Island, had been downgraded to a tropical storm—that is, less than a category 1 hurricane.  Rarely did wind gusts exceed 50-60 mph in our area.  While there was some coastal flooding, in Brookhaven it did not much exceed that of other major coastal storms we have experienced in recent times.  The major effect was the widespread loss of electrical power, although many sections of the hamlet did not lose their power.  For those who did lose power, it was out for around 3½ days, less than for Hurricane Gloria.  The eye of storm was in New Jersey to the west of us.  Unlike other areas affected by the storm, rainfall was not a major factor.
Town and County emergency management authorities issued "mandatory" evacuation orders for most of Brookhaven hamlet—"all that area south of South Country road."  Even given what was known of the storm at the time these decisions had to be made, most residents felt this order was greatly excessive.  Except for those with health or physical disabilities, or convenient alternate residences, most seemed to have stayed.   I was particularly disturbed by one press conference, where county and town authorities were calling for these evacuations to see the mandatory posed  "staff" in the background apparently telling jokes to each other—this while senior citizens were trying to decide what to do.  It's not as if we who live on the coast were making recklessly uninformed decisions.  The time to education the public is not a few panicked hours before a perceived disaster, but rather through regular communication of emergency protocols based on rational planning models.  See, for example, the Flood and Surge maps this site. 
By 11 am Sunday, the storms winds had greatly subsided and folks emerged from their homes to see the results.  This was near the time of high tide in our area, and this combined with the residual winds was still pushing water onshore.  It appeared as if the water in the Carmans river and Beaver Dam creek was 5, perhaps 6, feet above normal.  These estimates are confirmed by where observed water levels reached when compared with the land elevations recorded on the Suffolk County land use information maps.
Click image for enlarged view.

Beaver Dam road at Beaver Dam creek., looking east.

249 Beaver Dam road

249 Beaver Dam road, looking west toward Beaver Dam creek
(you may be able to faintly see the Champlain cottage on the banks of the creek)

Fire Place Ln. looking west toward Beaver Dam Creek & the Fire Place (Gould's) marina

River Lane
River Lane runs parallel to Beaver Dam Creek

18 River Lane

Brookhaven resident Marty Van Lith works at righting tree in his backyard.

East end, Beaver Dam road, looking east toward the Carman's river and Squassux Landing
The elevation at this point, according to the Suffolk County land use map, is five feet.
Water was still rising, perhaps to another eight inches.

365 Beaver Dam road.

Tree limb at 12 Locust road pulls down electrical wires.
Power was out for 3½ days.

These houses, on Ocean Place, are the only home which face directly on the Great South Bay,
This picture, taken Monday, shows sand washed onto the street in front of the houses.
The day before, this area was completely flooded.


Hamlet Reporter said...

Marty Van Lith comments--

"What great pictures! Did you take all these? I'm impressed, best pictures of the storm I've seen. The one taken from the intersection of Newey Lane, Old Stump and Beaver Dam Roads is exactly where the water came up to after Hurricane Gloria passed. I had a sailboat at Squassux where the water was waste high along the river shoreline road, which I guess is about 5' above average tide.

Was the water on Beaver Dam Road from the creek or from the rain running downhill all the way from the high school area?"

Water at the Beaver Dam Creek Bridge was from the rising creek, not run-off. Van Lith took the pictures of River Lane.

Hamlet Reporter said...

Other pictures of Brookhaven Hamlet may be found here:

Hamlet Reporter said...

More pictures may be found at:
The first of these pictures is at the foot of Bay Road, adjacent to Ocean Place.