In the hour before high tide, police are reporting several problems throughout East Hampton due to coastal flooding, mainly in Montauk, where a house's foundation was eroded right from under it.
The DeVito house at 16 Captain Kidd's Path in Montauk has lost parts of it north, front-facing foundation, according to Chief Robert Gosman.
"This is major erosion," he said of the erosion that is just east of Culloden Point. "Houses down here have lost decks before, but this is the foundation. I'd say about 40 percent of the house is hanging up in the air." No one was in the house, as the area is made of mainly summer homes. "It could definitely go in."
The National Weather Service had for the South Fork, due to the blizzard slamming the region with snow, on Sunday night into Monday morning.
High tide at the entrance to Montauk harbor is at 1:31 p.m. However, Gosman said he doesn't believe this high tide will send the house into the water because the winds are coming from the northwest.
Erosion has long been a problem in that area of Montauk. Larry Penny, the director of the town's natural resources department, said, "It's the worst in town because there's no beach left" as opposed to areas along the ocean, such as in Wainscott, where there are dunes.
On Captain Kidd's Path, "There's nothing there, just the bulkhead here and there." Residents in that area have long been shoring up the retaining walls, and the Keith Grimes excavation company have been working on this house.
Gosman said, "The bulkhead had been compromised earlier in the season and workmen there have been trying to put a Bandaid on it, back-filling it with sand, but after a certain point it's like putting your finger in a dike."
Penny explained that the erosion occurs because those houses are on the down-drift side of the inlet. "Most of the sand is caught up on the up-drift side, where it goes into the inlet."
Penny said he hoped that this latest development might make the Army Corps of Engineers move up the dredging of Lake Montauk, which would entail replenishing the beaches. The project isn't scheduled until 2013. "Maybe they'll hustle it up now."
Captain Mike Sarlo said his department has put up tape around the area to keep people away. Gosman said that he was most concerned about electricity to the house, but that he understood the Long Island Power Authority will cut power to it.
Acting Supervisor Theresa Quigley said in an email that, "We can review the situation for appropriateness for emergency permits."
"Unfortunately, there's not much we can do," Gosman said. "Just have to let Mother Nature take her course."
Officers have barricaded other areas hit hard by flooding. The parking lot to the left of is flooded, and Sarlo said, "It seems some of it is going to give way." He said there is a sharp drop off into the sound. The parking lot boarders the inlet. "We're just not sure how much more we're going to lose."
Gosman, whose family owns Gosman's Dock area, said about 6 to 10 feet worth of erosion has eaten away at the town-owned parking lot and along the beach access on West Lake Drive.
A section of Gerard Drive in Springs is impassable, Sarlo said. "This is a typical problem when the culverts flood," he said. With the second causeway being completely washed out, police are trying to reach the one resident that they said is typically home in the winter months. "We're trying to determine if he's there, if he needs anything. We still have power down there to it."
Sarlo said what his department hopes to prevent is drivers who try to get out past the second causeway to check out the damage and then get stuck over there. "That's typically what happens."