Lynn Laskos and neighbor Dave Corwin have been through three major storms over the past few years — the Tropical Storm Irene and now Hurricane Sandy — and several storms that were less powerful than predicted in between.
And though Laskos’ home and Corwin’s summer shack are still standing on their beachfront properties at Hashamomuck Cove in Southold, they are more afraid than ever that the Long Island Sound will breach Route 48 during the next big storm. At the weakest point in the cove behind Corwin’s shack, there is now only about 10 feet of sandy bluff protecting the major roadway from the Sound at high tide.
“The bluff eroded away about 10 feet more during this storm,” Corwin said of Sandy. “There’s just not much between gas and water lines and the road — it’s as close as it’s ever been to the county line.”
Out of the three big recent storms, Hashamomuck Cove suffered the most damage during the winter blizzard that also destroyed much of Southold Town Beach and its parking lot. The vulnerable residential area dodged a bullet yet again with Hurricane Sandy, Laskos said.
“We were bruised but not damaged — others had it 10 times worse than us,” Laskos said. “But we got lucky again.”
The Suffolk County Legislature voted in May of 2011 to appropriate $100,000 to plan and design protection for County Road 48 in the Hashamomuck Cove area. The initiative was spearheaded by Suffolk County Legislator Ed Romaine. And Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced after Sandy that funds have been earmarked to finance a feasibility study of the area before work can begin.
Laskos said she is happy for the funding but said she’d rather see shovels than another study. Over the past 20 years, Mother Nature has posed a significant threat to the Hashamomuck Cove shoreline and to County Road 48 — which has sparked concerns about difficulties for emergency vehicles and a lack of access to Eastern Long Island Hospital, among other things. Laskos is head of the Hashamomuck Cove advocacy group and a member of SoutholdVoice, a local group of property owners and business people concerned about the shoreline.
“We’ve been waiting for three years for state funding to finally come in,” she said. “We seem to always have plans but I’d rather see the work done now. I think this storm proved to everyone how the North Fork can flood.”
Though Route 48 was not breached during Hurricane Sandy, if the water broke through, there would have been no way to evacuate portions of the North Fork — including Eastern Long Island Hospital — with a large section of Route 25 also underwater.
“As much as we appreciate the feasibility study happening, we need shovels, not more studies,” Laskos said. “But we’re thankful that we’re in the pipeline and things are moving along.”