Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano declared a State of Emergency Saturday and ordered the mandatory evacuation of Long Beach Hospital and all nursing homes on the barrier island in preparation of Hurricane Sandy’s anticipated impact beginning Sunday.
“Although the storm track could change, we are preparing ourselves for the worst,” he said at a press conference in Nassau’s emergency management center in Bethpage Saturday evening. “Time for preparation is now. I ask all residents to stay alert.”
Mangano’s Suffolk counterpart County Exec Steve Belllone made a similar declaration earlier Saturday, additionally ordering the mandatory evacuation of Fire island.
Mangano said the county has been in contact with state and federal officials, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Guard, which will be arriving Sunday to assist in hurricane-related preparedness. He added that if the storm continues on its present track north to Long island, a mandatory evacuation directive for parts of the South Shore and low-lying areas of Nassau could be possible for Sunday.
The National Weather Service in Upton, New York issued a multitude of Hurricane Sandy-related updates and advisories Saturday, as the tropical cyclone continued to thrash in the Atlantic off the coast of the Carolinas and threaten the U.S. Eastern Seaboard with powerful winds, heavy rains, high waves and tidal surge.
“The Tri-State area will likely feel the impacts of a dangerous coastal storm Sunday evening through the middle of next week,” it stated. “This includes the likelihood for heavy rainfall and resultant significant urban…small stream…and river flooding…high winds causing widespread downing of trees and power lines…and significant shoreline impacts from coastal flooding and beach erosion.”
Forecasters have warned that the tropical cyclone will merge with two other systems to form a monster dubbed “Frankenstorm” before it hits the region Monday. Making matters worse, weather experts predict Hurricane Sandy will strike during a full moon, which will bring astronomically high tides and make its impact exponentially worse. Hurricane Sandy’s effects are expected to last through Thursday.
Mangano warned of record storm surge between 4 to 8 feet pounding the coast and urged residents to make plans with family and friends in case an evacuation order is issued.
For those who experienced flooding during 2011’s Tropical Storm Irene, which also downed trees and power lines and resulted in nearly half a million Long Islanders losing power, Mangano said, “You can expect the same effects or even greater.” He stressed that Irene’s fury, which resulted in more than $1.3 billion in damages in New York State, only lasted six hours, while forecasters predict Hurricane Sandy’s rage could last 12 to 18 hours.
Additionally, Mangano said all county parks, marinas and city centers will be closed Sunday at 5 p.m. until the duration of the storm and that the towns of North Hempstead, Hempstead, Oyster Bay and the cities of Long Beach and Glen Cove have issued similar State of Emergency declarations.
Officials have encouraged Long Islanders to prepare “go kits” in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy in case they need to evacuate their homes and find a place to stay further inland. Many Long Island residents on the South Shore were ordered to evacuate during Irene.
Public transportation including the Long Island Rail Road, public buses and flights in and out of New York airports are all expected to be impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
LIPA customers can report outages by calling 1-800-490-0075 or texting REG and then OUT to 695472.
The Suffolk County police non-emergency number is 631-852-COPS. Nassau has not yet activated their non-emergency number.