Hurricane-turned Tropical Storm Irene made her presence felt at this past weekend causing major flood damage that has forced the facility to be closed to the public early this week.
Jones Beacg Parking Fields 2 through 6 were “completely under water” when Irene struck during high tide conditions Sunday morning with water reaching the height of the boardwalk and in some cases going over it, according to New York State Parks spokesman George Gorman. The tide also went underneath the boardwalk and caused flooding to the and courses behind and caused water damage to the volleyball courts and two softball fields. The Central Mall concession area of Jones Beach was also flooded as well as the orchestra section seating at the .
“Jones Beach saw extensive flood damage throughout the park,” said Gorman, who added that electric power has also been out at the state park since early Sunday. “It’s the most damage we’ve seen at Jones Beach since Hurricane Gloria.”
In addition to flooding, Jones Beach also saw heavy sustained wind gusts early Sunday measuring as high as 64 miles per hour, according to weather reports. The wind blew off some of the letters in a "Welcome to Jones Beach" sign on the Wantagh State Parkway ticket booth entrance.
Jones Beach along with all other Long Island state parks was closed Monday to allow for an assessment of cleanup from damage caused by Irene. Gorman said Jones Beach will remain closed Tuesday but he is hopeful the park can be reopened by midweek. He said once power is restored they will be able to begin pumping out flooded water.
“We have to do a lot of work once we get the power restored,” said Gorman.
The Jones Beach Boardwalk Bandshell Kids Night Tuesdays show featuring the has been canceled. Gorman said it is unclear yet whether the water damage incurred at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater will be cleaned up in time for this weekend’s shows featuring Incubus and Steve Nicks.
Gorman is hopeful that most if not all of Jones Beach can be opened for Labor Day weekend, the unofficial close of summer.