Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Our First Storm Scare of the Season

Aaron Stein, Long Island Insurance BY AARON STEIN

This past weekend, Long Island and the surrounding areas got our first scare of this season. For those who don't realize it, we are already in the beginning weeks of what is considered hurricane season for our part of the world.

Here in Nassau and Suffolk counties, we got pretty lucky this past weekend. New Jersey was not so lucky and they continue to dig out of the mess. This was a nor'easter, as opposed to a tropical storm. There are a couple of things that were different. One is that it came from over the middle of the country, as opposed to tropical storms and hurricanes, which originate (strangely enough) in the tropics, out over water.

So that means that our deluge of rainfall was preceded by a bunch of snow being dropped on the middle part of the country. Usually they are laughing at us when we get hit by a tropical storm, because those rarely make it far inland. Once they do go over land, they quickly lose much of their strength.

The other thing that makes nor'easters so treacherous, especially here on Long Island and in the sort of inverted coastal corner that is the New York metropolitan area, is that the wind comes from a different direction than what is normal for us. Typically, our winds are the 'prevailing westerlies'. (Wind is named for the direction where it originates). That's why our weather patterns usually run from west to east. So if it's raining in central Pennsylvania, most times you can watch as the weather forecasters tell us how long it will be until that reaches us.

Even in this nor'easter, it came from the west relative to us. But the wind is from the northeast instead of the usual west. That means that to a certain extent, these high winds are blowing water in towards our south shores as they circulate around the storm's center! That's why nor'easters can cause heavy flooding even though it might not seem, walking out into our back yards, that things are all that horrible.

Let's hope this does not portend a more active hurricane season here on Long Island. In the past few weeks several more major insurance carriers have stopped writing in Suffolk County. The markets that are open are getting more expensive. And a couple of bad storms could really cause a crisis. We shall see.

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KG2V said...

Well, TECHNICALLY it's not hurricane season until May 1, but who's counting.

Most Long Islanders DON'T appreciate what can happen on LI if a big one hits - and folks, Gloria and Bob were babies.

In a BIG storm, the barrier beaches (aka Fire Island, The Rockaways, etc) WILL be under water. Ther have, historically, storms where the ocean surge was NORTH of Sunrise Highway.

Learn - Prepare, Plan and Practice - when the storm is here, it's too late

PeteT / Long Island Bulletin Board said...

What is amazing was the impact to the Long Island Rail Road. I needed to be in the City that Sunday in the morning, left that afternoon - no delays.

Well, the commute on Monday was HORRIBLE. Delays of over an hour and no commuication on what was happening. Just the omminous threat of "Once we get to Jamica, we may go onto Penn, Maybe we'll be sent to Brooklyn or.... maybe they just won't let us go anywhere."

Is this the way most commuter rail roads work? Is this what we paid such HUGE increases for over the last few years?

Do you want to share your stories of horrible LIRR or LIE commutes? Join us at the Long Island Bulletin Board!