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From our files: Other storms in recent Shelter Island history
TROPICAL STORM IRENE, SEPTEMBER 29 & 30, 2011
Just a little more than a year ago, Shelter Island was dealing with the wrath of Irene.
Downgraded to a tropical storm, like Sandy, Irene didn’t bring a lot of rain, about 2 inches by most tallies. But her winds were clocked at about 65 mph. Property owners reported substantial damage from falling limbs and toppled trees. Three cars at Hubbard’s Repair Shop on Jaspa Road were hit by falling trees. The entire Island lost power, according to Long Island Power Authority, but many outages were brief and LIPA estimated that 35 percent of customers remained without power when the storm ended. Some were restored very quickly, while others in Silver Beach, Montclair Colony, the Heights, Dering Harbor and Big Ram had to wait.
As Labor Day weekend loomed, the Town Board made pleaded with LIPA to restore power to Ram’s Head Inn and Fresh in time to serve customers. Both were up and running by the time the paper published on September 1.
There was one medical emergency during the storm while North Ferry wasn’t able to run, but EMS workers were able to stabilize the patient. Shell Beach experienced erosion
HURRICANE BOB, AUGUST 19, 1991
Hurricane Bob was compared with Hurricane Gloria that hit Shelter Island in 1985. But the impact was considered much greater because while Gloria hit in late September, it was the third week in August when Bob came ashore, a time when the Island’s population is triple what it is by late September.
There were seven inches of rain and 72 mph wind gusts that downed trees and electrical wires and left more than 100 boats beached.
Two days after the storm, power had been restored to much of the Island. But residents of Ram Island, Hay Beach, Tarkettle/South Ferry Hills and Nostrand Parkway had to wait a couple of days longer.
The town estimated its costs in repairing damages and clearing debris at about $4.5 million.
HURRICANE GLORIA, SEPTEMBER 27, 1985
Packing winds of 110 mph, Hurricane Gloria lashed Shelter Island, uprooting trees, downing utility poles and electrical wires and sending boats careening into the rocks. But town officials credited a lack of rain and low tides during Gloria’s visit with relatively little structural damage to town property, according to a Reporter story that appeared on October 2, 1985.
Some homes didn’t fare as well. A West Neck Road homeowner reported part of a roof sheered off and a tree that took off a terrace on the house. A vinyl swimming pool was spiked by a fallen tree at a Silver Beach residence. A North Ferry residence was struck by a tree,
The entire Island lost power, but by Wednesday, Oct. 2, about two-thirds of customers had seen their electricity returned. But a Viacom Cablevision spokeswoman said its services couldn’t be restored until all Islanders had electricity.
Some Islanders were without power for 10 days. The Causeways were only temporarily flooded while Bridge Street, flooded during Sandy, remained dry during Gloria. Both ferries stopped running during the storm, with North Ferry out for about seven hours and South Ferry for about three. One Silver Beach woman had to be transported by the Ambulance Corps, then under the auspices of the Red Cross, after falling from a ladder while trying to clear storm debris. She sustained multiple compound fractures.
HURRICANE CAROL AUGUST 30, 1954
Hurricane Carol was similar in intensity to the hurricane of 1938 that devastated Eastern Long Island. But while Carol hit the East End with wind gusts of up to 120 mph, it moved quickly across Long Island Sound headed for Connecticut, Rhode Island and other New England states.
South Ferry president Cliff Clark compared the storm surges of Sandy to Hurricane Carol, with Carol perhaps causing slightly higher surges, but not by much. Another difference was that while Carol hit and moved rapidly north, Sandy stuck around for almost 24 hours, causing more damage on parts of Long Island.
HURRICANE OF 1938, SEPTEMBER 21, 1938
Accounts of Shelter Island history say the 1938 Hurricane will never be forgotten here.
The eye of the storm hit Bayport around 2:30 in the afternoon of September 21, but by 3 p.m., the full wallop was hitting Eastern Long Island that sustained the worst of the storm. As with Sandy, it was the wind and storm surge, not rain, that caused the most damage on the East End.
Unlike Sandy, the storm was quick moving. Still Island resident Albertus “Toots” Clark, who was aboard Harold Vanderbilt’s 150-foot yacht, Vara, tied up at Preston’s Dock in Greenport, said, “We didn’t know it was a hurricane, but we knew that the wind was picking up.”
After hearing a report of storm damage on Fire Island, “that’s when we put the lines out” to secure the stern of the boat, Mr. Clark said. They had some special lines to run over to Brigham’s Dock across the way, but the winds were so heavy they couldn’t get the lines to the dock. He and other deckhands were able to hold the boat during the storm, but as the ropes slid through their hands, it pulled the skin off, he said.
When the eye of the storm covered the East End of Hay Beach, some of the largest trees on Shelter Island were lost. “All you could see were stubs,” Mr. Clark said.
Another Island resident, Margaret Burns Payne said she was shocked by the damage to her home. A grape arbor had collapsed on the back porch and a huge maple tree had fallen on the house. Her father, who worked at a Dering Harbor estate, had walked most of the night to get home, climbing over downed trees in the dark, she said. Her sister-in-law, Hazel Dickens, lived on Burns Road near the monastery and watched as her two children ran toward her home, only to see three large trees fall right behind them.
Nearby, the steeple on the Old Whaler’s Church in Sag Harbor toppled and the movie theater on Front Street in Greenport was destroyed.