By Kathryn G. Menu; Photography by Michael Heller
Monday Morning Update:
According to Sag Harbor Village Police Chief Tom Fabiano, the Village of Sag Harbor will open an emergency shelter at the Pierson Middle/High School at 8 a.m. Monday morning. The shelter is located in the gymnasium and residents are encouraged to bring bedding, toiletries, medicines, flashlights and batteries.
In other news, as Hurricane Sandy continues to push towards the northeast, Southampton Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst has issued a mandatory evacuation for anyone in low-lying areas of Southampton Town. In addition to high winds, Hurricane Sandy is expected to bring a strong storm surge, raising water levels six to 11 feet over normal tidal conditions.
Sunday Update: As Hurricane Sandy continues to barrel towards the northeast, with strong winds from the dangerous storm potentially lashing the East End as early as late tonight, Mayor Brian Gilbride said that as of 6 p.m. on Sunday, the Village of Sag Harbor will declare a state of emergency.
East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and East Hampton Village Mayor Paul Rickenbach, Jr. announced they have declared a state of emergency effective noon on Sunday.
At 2:15 p.m. Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst also declared a state of emergency.
Westhampton Beach Mayor Conrad Teller and Quogue Mayor Peter Sartorius have also declared a state of emergency for their villages.
Supervisor Throne-Holst has issued a mandatory evacuation of Dune Road and for low-lying category one flood zones.
According to Sag Harbor Volunteer Fire Department Chief Pete Garypie, that could include the Redwood sections of Sag Harbor Village as well as Fresh Pond in North Haven.
Chief Garypie said if his department is instructed to inform residents of a mandatory evacuation, they would simply go door-to-door advising people they should get to higher ground, but would not have the power to force people to leave their homes.
In a press release issued by Southampton Town Police, residents in low lying areas were urged to evacuate citing the six to 11 foot tidal surge expected to accompany Hurricane Sandy.
According to the National Weather Service, the East End could experience 26 to 34 mile per hour winds with gusts as high as 50 miles per hour as of Sunday night. On Monday, heavy rains coupled with winds ranging from 41 to 43 miles per hour and gusts as high as 60 miles per hour are estimated to impact the East End, according to the weather service, with gusts reaching as high as 75 miles per hour Monday night. Strong wind gusts are also expected throughout Tuesday.
Additionally, Hurricane Sandy is expected to bring a potentially crippling storm surge of six to 11 feet above normal sea levels. Residents in low-lying areas are being advised of the very real potential for flooding and severe coastal erosion.
East Hampton Town will open an evacuation center at East Hampton High School, Monday at 8 a.m.
The East Hampton Village Emergency Operations Center will open at 3:30 p.m. this afternoon and can be reached by calling 324-0945.
Two shelter locations are available in Southampton Town, including at Hampton Bays High School at 88 Argonne Road and at Riverhead High School at 600 Harrison Avenue in Riverhead.
The eastern campus of Suffolk County Community College at 121 Speonk-Riverhead Road in Speonk is a pet friendly shelter in Southampton Town.
In Sag Harbor, the village does have shelter capability at the Pierson Middle-High School, but as of 4 p.m. according to Sag Harbor Village Police Chief Thomas Fabiano, the village had not yet decided whether or not to open the shelter.
Mayor Gilbride urged people in low lying areas to evacuate to higher ground. Emergency service providers, he noted, will likely be overwhelmed with calls during the storm and would prefer if people made precautionary arrangements to seek safer ground before the storm becomes too severe.
If you are going to a shelter, you are advised to bring a blanket, pillow, medicine, snacks, bottled water, reading materials, flashlights, extra batteries and make sure someone knows where you are going.
Schools across the East End, including the Sag Harbor schools and the Bridgehampton School, will be closed on Monday.
The Sag Harbor School Board of Education has also canceled its business meeting for Monday night at 7 p.m.
An annual Bridgehampton tradition has also been shelved – the Bridgehampton Lions Club pumpkin carving contest on Monday night has also been canceled.
The Long Island Railroad will also suspend service at 7 p.m. on Sunday
Saturday: With a majority of forecasts showing the center of Hurricane Sandy making landfall somewhere between the Delmarva Peninsula and Rhode Island late Monday or early Tuesday morning, East End residents and government officials are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best as the local impact of the powerful storm remained uncertain as of Saturday afternoon.
On noon on Saturday, the Long Island Power Authority warned residents the storm has the potential to carry with it damaging winds that could result in power outages that could last as long as seven to 10 days.
As of Saturday, the storm was expected to make landfall carrying Category 1 hurricane force winds.
LIPA also encouraged residents with special health requirements who rely on life support equipment to register as critical care customers by calling 1-800-490-0025.
On Saturday morning, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone declared a state of emergency for the county and ordered a mandatory evacuation of Fire Island. In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie has also declared a state of emergency, issuing mandatory evacuation of Atlantic City casinos as well as the barrier islands and encouraging residents on the New Jersey Shore to voluntarily evacuate.
As of 2 p.m., according to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Sandy was sustaining winds near 75 miles per hour with higher gusts as it approached the North Carolina coasts. Hurricane force winds are extending 105 miles from the center of the storm, according to the weather service, with tropical force winds extending up to 450 miles. Rainfall amounts are estimated to be between four and eight inches and dangerous surf conditions are expected to spread into the mid Atlantic and Northeastern states by Sunday.
Coastal erosion and flooding is also predicted for the East End as a result of the storm.
On Friday, East Hampton Town officials updated its website with Hurricane Sandy information, as well as a list of important phone numbers and methods for storm preparedness. On Friday, Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne Holst also urged residents to prepare for the storm, and like East Hampton Town officials, encouraged residents to check the town websites regularly as Hurricane Sandy approaches for updates on any areas that may be evacuated.
Throne-Holst urged those with health care of mobilization limitations to register with the town’s special needs program by calling 728-1235 and said all residents with or without Internet access should sign by for Code RED to receive emergency information.
Residents can register by calling 852-4900 or by visiting the town’s website at www.southamptontownny.gov.
East Hampton Town’s website can be accessed by visiting www.town.east-hampton.ny.us.
In Sag Harbor Village, Mayor Brian Gilbride said he was optimistic the East End would be spared the worst of Hurricane Sandy, but was planning to meet with Sag Harbor Village Police, emergency service workers, the fire department and officials from North Haven Village on Sunday to discuss the storm and whether or not to open the village’s shelter, which is located at the Pierson Middle High School.
“I would say even though the latest updates are more encouraging, residents should prepare for the worst,” said Mayor Gilbride. “Stock up on food, gas, water. If you are in a low lying area we are expecting significant coastal flooding so it would be best to prepare a plan to leave, if necessary.”
“People are taking this very seriously, and they should,” said Mayor Gilbride.