With Hurricane Irene expected to arrive this weekend, officials issued Friday mandatory evacuations for tens of thousands of Long Islanders in low-lying coastal areas in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano ordered everybody living in areas south of Sunrise Highway between the New York City line and Rockville Centre starting 5 p.m. Saturday. Same goes for residents in areas south of Merrick Road between Baldwin and the Suffolk County line.
Brookhaven Supervisor Mark Lesko declared a state of emergency in the town and urged residents in flood-prone areas to prepare for mandatory evacuations at 8 a.m. Saturday, affecting approximately 70,000 residents in the township.
Islip Town Supervisor Phil Nolan issued mandatory evacuations for Fire Island low-lying areas on Long Island’s south shore roughly south of Sunrise Highway starting 8 a.m. Saturday.
Town of Babylon Supervisor Steve Bellone declared an emergency Friday night and ordered a mandatory evacuation of low-lying areas south of Montauk Highway beginning Saturday at 8 a.m. The evacuation also effects those on barrier beaches.
Southampton officials have issued voluntary evacuation orders for residents living within a half-mile of ocean and bay shorelines.
Lesko ordered evacuations of: Blue Point, south of Montauk Highway; Patchogue, south of Main Street, East Patchogue south of Main Street, east to the intersection of South Country Road and south of South Country Road; Bellport, south of South Country Road; Brookhaven, south of South Country Road; Shirley, south of Golden Gate Road at the intersection of Neighborhood Road, south all the way to Smithtown Park; the entire village of Mastic Beach; Moriches, south of Main Street; Center Moriches, south of Main Street; Cedar Beach Peninsula in Mt. Sinai; East Moriches, south of East Moriches Boulevard, including the Newport Beach community.
Lesko urged residents in those areas to stay with family or friends areas farther from the flood zones. “You don’t want to end up staying at one of the shelters,” said Lesko.
He also urged voluntary evacuations of all North Shore waterfront and low-lying areas.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy warned there will be additional mandatory evacuations on the mainland down by the coast on Saturday.
“We are still determining exactly what areas will be evacuated,” Levy said. “It’s going to be on a town by town basis.”
He called for residents to “use your common sense” during mandatory evacuations.
Eleven shelters will be open Saturday, up from the five shelters the county announced earlier.
The shelters include: Riverhead High School, Robert Frost Middle School in Deer Park, Brentwood High School, Long Wood Senior High School in Brookhaven, Eastport South Manor Junior and Senior High School, East Hampton High School, Walt Whitman High School in Huntington, North Babylon High School, Hamptons Bay High School, Sachem East High School and Riverhead Middle School.
Two pet shelters will be open, since hurricane shelters do not allow pets. One will be open at the Brentwood Recreation Center and the other at Suffolk County Community College in Riverhead.
“The reason we are announcing that now, is that we want to get people psychologically ready to move out tomorrow,” Levy explained, adding that people should start packing in case they are called on to leave their homes.
Residents can find zoning information on the county website. Robocalls will be made to all residents expected to evacuate.
Joining the county executive on the phone during the press conference was Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who said residents should leave now before traffic becomes heavier and bridges start closing due to strong wind.
“Smart New Yorkers evacuate when the sun is shining,” Cuomo said.
Islip Town Supervisor Phil Nolan said thousands of people evacuated Fire Island after the order was issued Friday afternoon.
“The course we’ve taken has been right on the money,” he said.