The last ferries off Fire Island were packed as barrier beach workers and residents pushed the 2 p.m. Sunday mandatory evacuation deadline to the last minute before Hurricane Sandy strikes.
Homeowners prepared their beach houses for the storm’s anticipated wrath by boarding up windows, securing lawn furniture and removing air conditioners from windows. Ferry service will be suspended to the mostly car-free island Monday.
“It’s pretty hairy,” said Bobby, a chef who works in Point ‘O Woods and stays in Ocean Beach. “The water came all the way up to the end of town.”
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone ordered Fire Island evacuated Saturday, leaving only a day’s notice. The island was also evacuated during Tropical Storm Irene last August. On Saturday, he declared a State of Emergency for Suffolk County. Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano did the same. Mangano issued evacuation orders for select areas at a press conference Sunday.
The Long Island Power Authority will preemptively cut electricity to the island, leaving those who stay behind—mostly police officers and firefighters—in the dark.
The population of the 17 seasonal resort communities generally swells to about 50,000 during the summer months but is estimated to drop down to around 500 in the off-season.
Fire Island National Seashore facilities were also closed Sunday afternoon.
Although the last ferry was advertised as leaving the west end of the island at 1:30 p.m., a Fire Island Ferries staff member said there is one last evacuation boat out of Ocean Beach at 5:30 p.m.