Surprise Aggressive Storm Pounds Ocean Shore

Two days of heavy surf have torn away the dunes at Georgica Beach in East Hampton. David E. Rattray

East Hampton Town's ocean beaches took a heavy pounding Thursday and Friday as storm waves and a higher-than-usual tide cycle combined to produce considerable erosion.

As a low-pressure system pushed offshore Thursday, the wind came from the southeast with sustained speeds of 30 miles per hour or more at around daybreak. The highest recorded winds at the Montauk Airport weather station -- more than 35 m.p.h. -- coincided with a rising tide on the ocean.

At high tide in East Hampton Village on Thursday, erosion appeared to be worst at Georgica Beach, which had been severely cut back by waves from Hurricane Irene in August before it was downgraded to tropical storm and made landfall far to the west.

Though the weather system had been forecast, the severity of the blow it delivered to the south-facing beaches was not anticipated.

A controversial, fence-like row of steel pipes, installed for a property owner at Georgica Beach after Hurricane Irene, began to collapse Thursday. In September, East Hampton Village officials had cited the landowner, Molly Zweig, for failing to obtain permits for the pipes. She refused to remove them. The village has been expected to take the matter to the State Supreme Court.

By Friday morning, only a handful of Ms. Zweig's pipes remained standing. The rest appeared to have been swept away by the ocean's onslaught. A message seeking comment from Ms. Zweig was not returned.

Ms. Zwieg's property was not the only Georgica-area estate to suffer damage this week. Staircases to the east of the Georgica parking lot were torn off by the waves or left dangling over the rushing water. No beach could be seen in front of the now-exposed rock sea walls protecting houses along Lily Pond Lane.

Sand that had accumulated during the fall at Ditch Plain in Montauk was gone by Friday morning.

A gale warning remained in effect from the National Weather Service though late Friday with winds on the ocean becoming west with gusts to 45 m.p.h.