Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hurricane Bill brushes Fire Island

It actually turned out to be a largely beautiful summer weekend on Fire Island, but many people who would have otherwise ventured to the beach stayed on the mainland because local officials closed the beaches ahead of Hurricane Bill.

The storm passed hundreds of miles southeast of Fire Island, but waves of more than 10 feet rolled onto the beach throughout the weekend. The strongest swells to buffet Fire Island came last night and early this morning. Bill caused some minor to moderate beach erosion in Cherry Grove, the Fire Island Pines and other areas. This reporter spotted mangled snow fencing, wooden planks and other debris scattered across the beach earlier today. And a four foot wave inundated the dune tongue around 8:45 last night as he stood on a beach access in the Grove.

All dramatics aside, Bill certainly demonstrated Mother Nature's power. It provided local surfers with a rare opportunity to hang 10 on the beach, but the majority of Fire Islanders who are accustomed to storms took Bill in stride.

Hurricane Bill caused rough surf and rip tides in Cherry Grove and across Fire Island on Aug. 22.

A woman swims in the rough surf off Corneille Estates on Aug. 22.

A man watches the surf from the beach in Cherry Grove on Aug. 22.

Rough surf pummeled Cherry Grove on Aug. 22.

Waves from Hurricane Bill eroded the sand around the Atlantic Walk beach access in the Fire Island Pines (as seen on Aug. 23.)

These wooden beams are among the debris on the beach in the Fire Island Pines.

Erosion near Doctor's Walk in Cherry Grove on Aug. 23.

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