Hermine appears to have spared Long Island from widely expected storm damage over Labor Day weekend, but the anticipation was enough to ruin revelers’ plans for the unofficial end of beach season.
The National Weather Service (NWS) lifted the tropical storm warning for Nassau County on Monday, but it remained in effect for Suffolk County on Monday afternoon as the storm churned up the Atlantic about 300 miles southeast of Montauk.
“Suffolk County has dodged the worst predicted impacts of the storm,” county officials said in a statement. “Emergency management personnel will continue to monitor the storm due to possible chance of minor flooding for immediate shoreline communities and low-lying areas during Monday’s high tide. There is limited potential for minor to locally moderate damage to marinas, docks, boardwalks and piers.”
Hermine made landfall Thursday as a hurricane in Florida, passed through Georgia and the Carolinas before returning to the Atlantic as a post-tropical cyclone on Saturday. Forecasters said its local impact varied depending upon which path it took.
“I urge all residents and visitors in low-laying coastal areas to be vigilant of flooding during high tide,” Gov. Cuomo said in a statement.
In anticipation of the storm causing nor’easter-like conditions, Suffolk officials ordered a voluntary evacuation of Fire Island by 1 p.m. Sunday, extended that time to 6 p.m. when the storm track changed and then lifted the order by Monday morning. The order, along with ferry companies saying that may have to suspend service, sparked a mass exodus of the resort community on its final weekend of the busy tourism season.
Adding to the anxiety, on Saturday night an alert was broadcast saying that there was a mandatory evacuation of Suffolk. County officials, who blamed federal emergency management officials for the error, quickly corrected it to note that the evacuation was only for Fire Island and was voluntary, not mandatory.
“It was like a scene from Jaws, watching thousands of people running to the Fire Island Ferry,” Dean Hart, a Democratic New York Assembly candidate and president of Long Island Citizens for Good Government, said while bemoaning the revenue the island’s businesses lost. “The fact that Fire Island’s ‘voluntary evacuation’ was only lifted today is proof that we need better and more up-to-date information as it pertains to potential emergency situations like this.”
Nassau officials had warned residents in coastal communities of the threat of a storm surge, but stopped short of ordering evacuations.
Aside from coastal flooding and beach erosion expected on Monday, forecasters also predicted some rain and up to 25 mph sustained winds and up to 30 mph gusts. Rip currents also forced the closure of oceanfront beaches to swimming across LI.