The Storm Damage Is Grim and Widespread

A desperate scene along the Sagaponack ocean shoreline on Oct. 30 John Musnicki

    Post-storm damage assessment, restoration, and cleanup have begun, with varied results among the towns, villages, and hamlets of the East End.
    In East Hampton, several damage-assessment teams were dispatched throughout the town to take photos of storm-affected beaches, buildings, and roadways, but complete information had not been compiled as of yesterday, officials said. East Hampton Town opened a warming center at the American Legion Hall in Amagansett Saturday night, for one night only. Bruce Bates, the town’s emergency preparedness coordinator, said calls from people still lacking electricity and seeking warm shelter were few, and that people had been advised to bunk with family or friends.
    After Hurricane Sandy essentially shut the region down on Oct. 29 and 30, subsequent power outages, road closures, and other hazards kept many schools closed for days, but all East End schools have now resumed classes.
    In Southampton Town, the response was consistent, as was communication via the Internet and social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. Regular updates were posted throughout the week as to cleanups, clinics, and shelters that offered overnight lodging, restrooms, and charging stations for electronic devices.
    Jennifer Garvey, spokeswoman for Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, said yesterday that assessment of damaged areas took place immediately to determine if residences were structurally sound and inhabitable. The hardest hit areas included Flanders, specifically the Bay View Pines neighborhood, where six houses were completely destroyed, North Sea, Hampton Bays, and East Quogue.
    The coast was badly hit, Ms. Garvey said, with Bridgehampton and Sagaponack losing most if not all of their dunes. A number of houses there experienced structural damage. The Water Mill Beach Club was destroyed, she said, and all public beaches severely eroded.
    The Southampton Town Trustees and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation agreed to immediate sand placement, which required that trucks gain access to the beach. The storm filled the Mecox cut with sand, she said, and it needed to be dug out to alleviate rising waters near houses in the Mecox Bay area. Ms. Garvey said she was grateful to Steve Mezynieski, an excavator who cleared roads, at no charge to the town, so sand could be placed.
    On Saturday the trustees held a meeting with oceanfront homeowners who had questions about how to shore up their houses, Ms. Garvey said. There are still many power outages, and complaints from residents who say there are many more than is shown on LIPA’s Web site, which as of yesterday listed about 1,500 outages in Southampton Town.
    Hampton Bays High School was opened as a warming shelter briefly, and then the Hampton Bays Middle School opened over the weekend when the temperature dropped. The Flanders Community Center is still open as a shelter.
    “Seniors with power outages and no heat was a huge concern,” Ms. Garvey said. “It is difficult to get them to leave their homes.” She asked that residents “look out for their neighbors.” A program is available for senior citizens in Hampton Bays, and anyone on the list is looked after. Residents who need help with transportation can add themselves to the list by calling 728-1235, she said. There is also a special needs center for the elderly or those requiring medical assistance.
    Ms. Garvey said that residents should be aware that “any saltwater intrusion needs electrical inspection, even if it looks like it hasn’t reached the outlets.” Circuit boxes may have been affected, she said. She encouraged residents with damage to take pictures and save debris such as wrecked furniture for inspection by insurance companies. She said the supervisor’s office can be called with questions, and that a public meeting with a Federal Emergency Management Agency representative will be planned to explain flood policies.
    In Sag Harbor, Mayor Brian Gilbride said on Tuesday that the village was kept busy during the days after the hurricane with “a lot of flooding,” which was extensive in the parking lot behind the village along Long Island Avenue. The village set up generators, assisted by Sag Harbor Fire Department volunteers, to pump eight million gallons for two or three days until it was removed.
    Over all, the mayor said the village was “very lucky” compared to the “devastation to the west.” He said that “the guys got out immediately to cut brush and trees” in order to help LIPA get where it needed to go. He said he was pretty sure that every road was now open, although there are still “sporadic outages in the village.”
    The flooding was especially bad in the Redwood area, as well as Bay Point, Noyac, and parts of North Haven, according to Sag Harbor Village Police Chief Tom Fabiano. He said the school had power restored after two days, but many residents were not so lucky.
    For Sagaponack Village as a whole, Mayor Donald Louchheim said, “Sandy’s impact appears to have been less than Irene’s — fewer street trees down, fewer homes without power.” For the beachfront areas, he said, “Sandy was devastating, particularly between Peter’s Pond Lane and Town Line Road, which was flattened.” The dune was entirely washed away there, he said, with a half-dozen houses seriously undermined. West of Peter’s Pond, there was serious erosion along the dunes, and in several areas the sea washed over the remaining portion of the dunes. Houses on the edge of Sagaponack Pond were flooded.
    Mr. Louchheim said that about 200 homes, out of a total of more than 650, were left without power, all in the portion of the village south of Parsonage Lane. By Tuesday morning, there appeared to be only 37 homes still without electricity, he said, on Gibson and Crestview Lanes and on the southern part of Sagg Main Street. Southampton Town highway crews had all of the main roads cleared of debris by the morning after the storm, Mr. Louchheim said.
    Elsewhere, the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons was prepared for the storm, and served as an emergency pet evacuation center for the Town and Village of East Hampton for two days last week. ARF boarded six animals in all, free of charge, for people fleeing their homes. In the event of future outages, the center welcomes animals at the adoption center in Wainscott during regular business hours. Animals should be taken there with food, an identification collar, a leash, and any necessary medications.