Jasmine Koc held a cup of coffee in one hand and squinted through the rain as she jimmied the door to her storefront.
It was raining heavily Monday morning and already a deluge of stormwater flowed down both sides of Main Street like twin rivers. Koc, owner of , came down to the Village to ensure the water hadn’t reached her door.
She held out little hope of seeing any clients. Not when it rains in Northport.
“When it’s raining on Main Street, no one comes to town,” Koc said. “Their car gets stuck in the water.”
It was 10 a.m. and already Koc planned to call it a day. She estimated closing her shop due to the weather would cost her 30 clients and $1,000 in revenue.
The threat of flood has already proved costly in another way. Koc claims her insurance company recently dropped her because of flooding concerns.
“The rain doesn’t help,” echoed Al Mott, co-owner of , who estimates foot traffic goes down 15 percent on a rainy day.
While several merchants declined to make waves about water along Main Street, since Northport was founded.
“The Village sits in a valley,” explained Village Administrator Gene Guido, who said several drainage improvements have been made in recent years.
It begins with a trickle running down Laurel Avenue and picks up speed as it rounds the bend. By the time stormwater reaches Church Street it comingles like the headwaters of some great river. The downward slope of Main Street carries the torrent down to Northport Harbor.
On this day, rushing water reached as high as the hubcaps of parked cars. That's nothing compared to a rainstorm during high tide.
“It doesn’t happen as often as it used to,” said Flemming Hansen, owner of and president of the . “It’s gotten better. They added more drains.”
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Residents can remember days when children surfed down Main Street.
The stormwater runoff, which drains into Northport Harbor, is so prolific that the Environmental Protection Agency stepped in. The Village, pushed by the EPA, in September 2011.
The at the end of March.
Flooding is not an everyday occurrence. But it happens enough that has its own gang plank. The walkway was on display Monday morning.
And it's that fear of flooding that may keep potential customers away from the Village when it rains. You never know what you will find.
“Stay open, make the best of it,” Hansen advised. “Do like the Theatre if you need a walkway across the water. But these storms don’t last all day.”
True enough. By 11 a.m. the torrent subsided to a trickle and the Village returned to life. But it’s clear this waterfront community’s blessing is also its curse – especially for local businesses.