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.