Massive flooding in Port Jefferson takes village by surprise

Posted: Updated:
PORT JEFFERSON -

Flooding from Tuesday night’s downpour seemed to take everyone by surprise in Port Jefferson.

Village Mayor Margot Garant says the area was inundated with around four inches of rain in just one hour.

The flooding came fast and many businesses in Port Jefferson were damaged, including the restaurant Ruvo East. Workers say several feet of water rushed through the door in a matter of minutes.

MORE: Flooding photos
MORE: Cleanup continues after flooding in Port Jeff

“Within 10 minutes it was ankle deep water, then knee deep water, then I was in hip deep water. It was very scary,” says Aysen Sprague, a server at the restaurant.

Several other buildings were flooded, including the fire department and nearby Theatre Three, which had several dozen children inside at the time auditioning for its annual performance of “A Christmas Carol.”

“It's devastating, we didn't expect it so we weren't prepared,” said artistic director Jeffrey Schmidt.

Schmidt put it in prospective though, saying that what people are experiencing in the Carolinas in the wake of Hurricane Florence is much worse.

“This is nothing compared to that,” he said.

Mayor Garant urged anyone who can to donate to the theater so it can get back on it's feet. Lowes hardware store in Setauket has also donated supplies to help in the rebuilding process.

“It’s the worst that I’ve ever seen,” she said of the flooding damage. “They need all your help.”

Schmidt told News 12 that the best way to support the theater is to go see a show. He said “The Adams Family” will still be on the stage on Friday.

According to Mayor Garant, the village has a high water table and a drainage system that dates back to World War II. She says she's working to secure state grants, which would pay for flood barriers.

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