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UPDATE: Swift-moving storm strikes Island: Trees, power lines brought down by high wind

New information has been released by the Police Department:

The Highway Department wasn’t the only town department that had a busy afternoon and evening. Police Chief Jim Read, the town’s emergency management coordinator, said there were “well over 200 calls to our Emergency Operations Center regarding downed trees, wires, power outages, fires etc. related to the storm.”

The Shelter Island Fire Department responded to five emergencies — a transformer, a generator, smoke in a basement, a brush fire and live wires in the road.
“There were no medical emergencies during the storm,” Chief Read said.

Below is the original story.

It was named Isaias, a tropical storm that came out of the Caribbean, struck Florida and raced up the East Coast on Wednesday.

It arrived on Shelter Island around 2 p.m. with steady winds of 30 to 35 mph, gusting as high as 60 mph, with skies that went from dark to blazingly bright. And, strangely for a tropical storm, there was little or no rain.

The high winds knocked down trees that crashed to the ground carrying power lines with them. Highway Superintendent Brian Sherman estimated that 25 large trees went down, and hundreds of tree branches were scattered throughout the Island.

(Credit: Eleanor P. Labrozzi)

It was not PSEG’s best day. Mr. Sherman described the efforts by the power company as “a mess,” with Island crews waiting for long intervals to clear roads since PSEG crews were late responding to secure live wires. There had been meetings with power company officials and phone numbers exchanged in advance of the storm’s arrival, but during and after it passed, assistance from PSEG lagged.

(Credit: Eleanor P. Labrozzi)

It wasn’t just Shelter Island, Mr. Sherman said, but many East End municipalities were left waiting to go to work before dangerous live wires could be cleared.

The power company’s outage web page crashed and was unreliable for a good portion of the afternoon and evening.

By mid-morning, Wednesday, PSEG reported 761 Island customers had been “affected” by outages, or 23% of the Island.

(Credit: Eleanor P. Labrozz)i

But Mr. Sherman said Shelter Island caught a break. “There was no high tide and no flooding,” he said.

By early evening, Highway Department crews, working steadily and efficiently, had cleared all roads for traffic, Mr. Sherman said.

As quickly as Isaias arrived, it was gone.

(Credit: Eleanor P. Labrozzi)