South Fork Spared Thursday's Snow, but Coastal Flooding a Concern

Coastal flooding was a bigger issue on the East End than snow. On Shelter Island Friday morning, even on a falling tide one of the South Ferry ramps was underwater and drivers had difficulty navigating their way through the water to get to the other ramp. Carissa Katz

A rare before-Thanksgiving snowfall that paralyzed New York City and northern New Jersey during the Thursday evening commute had a negligible effect on South Fork roads.

Only a mix of heavy rain with occasional sleet was falling in East Hampton Village at 8 p.m. Thursday. The electric utility, PSEG Long Island, reported only a handful of outages, with fewer than 70 customers cut off in East Hampton Town. There were fewer still in Southampton Town. Areas with the highest number of power outages were in the towns of North Hempstead, Oyster Bay, and Huntington.

No snow accumulation was reported at East Hampton Airport, however, snowfall elsewhere on Long Island as of about 8 p.m. on Thursday ranged from 6.5 inches in Manhasset to 4.3 inches at Islip MacArthur Airport to 3.5 inches at Orient. 

Gusting east winds were the greater concern on the South Fork. A gale warning was in effect for Peconic Bay, Gardiners Bay, and the ocean shore, as well as New York Harbor and Long Island Sound until 6 p.m. Friday for northeast winds up to 35 knots, shifting to west with gusts to 45 knots. Minor flooding of low-lying areas was expected.

East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo said there were quite a few reports of tree limbs down and minor debris in the roads. Stephen Lynch, the East Hampton Town Highway superintendent, said a tree fell across Oakview Highway by Hand's Creek Road in East Hampton around 6 a.m., blocking both lanes. "It was cleaned up by 7," he said. Gerard Drive in Springs washed over — "But it does that in every storm," he said.  The east wind spared the ocean beaches in Montauk from further erosion, he added. 

"We were ready for it though," he said of the snow that fell further west. "It stayed on the warmer side here."  

The Police Department called the East Hampton Fire Department's heavy rescue squad to get someone out of a car. Chief Turza said they found a small sedan stuck in the mud after its driver went through a puddle off the shoulder of the road up against the tree line on Cedar Street, near Pine Street, Friday morning. A tow truck was called instead. 

In Sag Harbor Village Friday morning, Police Chief Austin McGuire said the water nearly came up over the Long Wharf. "As usual, water was across Bay Street at Rysam Street," he said, adding there was nothing else unusual to report. 

On Shelter Island, coastal flooding around the high tide caused delays and closures at the ferries. The North Ferry shut down for a time earlier on Friday but is back up and running. One ramp on the South Ferry's Shelter Island side had to be closed and cars had difficulty getting onto the ferry, even three hours after the morning's high tide. 

On the North Fork, strong winds blew over the steeple on the First Baptist Church in Greenport at 3:30 a.m., according to the Suffolk Times. It teetered on the roof of the building and had to be lowered with a crane. No one was hurt. 

With Reporting by Taylor K. Vecsey