It’s Saturday morning, which means Long Island is underwater thanks to Hurricane Earl, right? Not exactly.
Despite Island-wide preparations for what was expected to be a pretty serious hit, Hurricane Earl caused far less damage to Long Island and the rest of the northeast than expected.
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The majority of Long Island saw, well, nothing. Friday’s weather was slightly overcast, but rain droplets were few and far between, and winds weren’t any more intense than usual.
The East End, which saw a tropical storm warning reduced to a tropical storm watch with Hurricane Earl expected to hit with winds up to 200 mph, did feel some force. Winds were estimated at 55 mph and ocean waves grew noticeably in size.
Erosion appeared to be minimal at first glance. “It wasn’t as much of an impact as expected,” said Derek Angermaier, a lifeguard at Robert Moses State Park, while he evaluated the beach Saturday morning. The beach, which was replenished with additional sand in March, lost a couple of inches in height while high tide reached near the dunes, he estimated.
Regardless, swimming is no longer off limits, but the Atlantic Ocean is still a bit rough. “Although the park is open, I think people need to still be cautious of hazardous surf or any debris that may have been brought up,” said Paula Valentine, spokeswoman for the Fire Island National Seashore.
Long Island Rail Road service to the East End, which was suspended as of Friday, had resumed as of Saturday morning.
As of 9:15 a.m. Saturday, Hurricane Earl is headed further north towards Nova Scotia. After missing Long Island, Earl did slight damage to Massachusetts, with some downed power lines, a few hundred power outages and slight flooding. Winds were clocked in the neighborhood of 70 mph.
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Hurricane Earl’s potential quickly diminished over the past 36 hours. After heading straight towards the northeast area Thursday as a Category 4 with 145-mph winds, it had dropped to a Category 1 by midday Friday. Late last night at 11 p.m., it was downgraded again to a tropical storm
The relief from Hurricane Earl is a lifted burden from Labor Day travelers. Roughly 3 million travelers are expected to use bridges, tunnels, railways and airports over the weekend, according to The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
With The Associated Press and Timothy Bolger