Another Day, Another Storm on Fire Island

Buck along Burma Road in the Summer Club. Photo by John Eddey.

The second storm to bash Fire Island in less than a month has resulted in power outages, suspended ferry service, as well as severe floods and abnormal tides along the oceanfront.

This Wednesday, January 10 event is part of a larger system that has been running along the east coast and is the first major storm of 2024. As predictions had been brewing for days, a cancellation was already in place at Fire Island School. After an evening of rain on Tuesday evening, winds could be heard howling throughout the night. In the early hours of Wednesday morning the sun came out and flooding concerns at first appeared to be minimal. It promised to be a beautiful day.

High tide at Fire Island Pines. Photo by Bob Anderson.

However, across the Great South Bay things were unfolding differently. In Bay Shore flood waters were already rising in the terminal of Fire Island Ferries, Inc. and high tide was still two-and-a-half hours away. Passenger and freight service was cancelled on the spot.

As the hour of high tide approached, bayside waters came into the residential areas of Fire Island fast and furious, much like it had during the nor’easter of December 18. Then shortly after 10:15 a.m. there was a power outage.

The outage it was eventually learned was an intentional shut-down which PSEG Long Island decided upon as a precautionary measure as the Ocean Beach substation began to flood. Substations in Kismet and Fire Island Pines remained operational the entire time. As flood the waters receded, power was restored at about 3 p.m.

 Oceanside along Atlantique. Photos by John Anner.

The power outage left many Fire Islanders with spare time on their hands and many ventured out to take photos. Some were kind enough to contribute them to this article. However, this storm was sobering, undoing much of the recent progress of the beach renourishment project presently being undertaken by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as having many people asking themselves, how bad it will be next time?

Ocean and bay side in Kismet. Photos by Beth Batkiewicz.