Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has declared a State of Emergency and ordered a mandatory evacuation of Fire Island before Hurricane Sandy is forecast to impact the Long Island starting Sunday.
The Town of Islip, which the western half of the barrier island falls in, also issued an emergency declaration and urged FI residents to evacuate by 2 p.m. Sunday. Bellone echoed Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano’s calls for those on LI residing near the shore to also be prepared to evacuate.
“I’m just worried about how bad it’s going to be with the tidal surge,” Bob Notheis told The Associated Press at the Home Depot in Freeport as he bought sawhorses to put his furniture on inside his home. “Irene was kind of rough on me and I’m just trying to prepare.”
Sandy is churning up the Atlantic as a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 75 mph. 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. Its effects are expected to last through Thursday.
Hurricane Irene was downgraded to tropical storm status before it hit LI last August but still downed enough trees and power lines to leave nearly half of the Long Island Power Authority’s 1 million customers without electricity—some for more than a week.
Like Irene, forecasters warn that Sandy is expected to hit during a full moon, when tides are astronomically higher than usual. That increases the potential for serious coastal flooding once the storm rolls ashore.
Officials have warned that residents prepare their “go kits” in case they need to evacuate their homes and find a place to stay further inland. Communities closest to the shore were ordered to evacuate during Irene.
The Long Island Rail Road, public buses and flights in and out of New York airports are all expected to be impacted by the storm.
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.