Several communities on Fire Island experienced washovers during Hurricane Irene. Generally considered one of the worst case scenarios for any barrier island, a “washover” is when ocean waves overcome the dunes and mix with bay water on the mainland side.
Ian Levine of the Ocean Beach Fire Department told The News that the water went from the ocean to the bay on Cottage Walk in Ocean Beach, Corneille Estates and Fire Island Summer Club, Atlantique, Saltaire and Field 5 at Robert Moses, where there is 12 to 18 inches of water. Additional washhovers occurred at Sail and Nautilus Walks in Fire Island Pines and on Whalebone Walk in Davis Park. Two transformers have reportedly come down, while the bay saw a storm surge of 4 to 5 feet. There were 22 foot waves on the ocean during the height of the storm. Fire Island experienced a peak wind gust of 71 mph, while sustained winds averaged between 35 – 60 mph during the storm. Sayville reported a 91 mph wind gust at 7:02 a.m., while East Moriches reported a 71 mph wind gust at 6:20 a.m.
According to the above-linked report, the gay village of Fire Island Pines experienced one washover and water there has already receded. It adds that the access road to the Sayville ferry terminal is presently under “four to five feet of water.” All of Fire Island remains under a mandatory evacuation order until at least Tuesday and the power may not be restored until then.
UPDATE: A Twitter user reports “the ocean met the bay on Nautilus and Sail walks in Fire Island Pines.”
RELATED: During the Great Hurricane of 1938, a washover permanently split the New York barrier island at Hampton Bays, creating the Shinnecock Inlet.