Hurricane Irene remains a category 2 storm off the coast of the Carolinas and as of Friday afternoon over 65 million people on the eastern seaboard are currently under a hurricane watch or warning, with the Outer Banks of North Carolina as well as the inner coves being evacuated in expectation of the hurricane’s landfall sometime late today or early tomorrow.
The storm is predicted to make landfall near New York City Sunday morning, although the path and strength of Irene still remains uncertain.
On Friday, Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride said Superintendent of Public Works Dee Yardley has begun removing anything from Long Wharf and throughout the village that has the potential to be blown away in the storm. He is also checking drainage throughout the village in an effort to keep flooding at a minimum.
Under the current path, Mayor Gilbride noted that the East End is predicted to be facing a tremendous amount of rain coupled with wind speeds of between 80 miles per hour and 100 miles per hour.
“Those are the kind of statistics that wake you up a little bit to what we are expecting to have to deal with,” he said.
Harbor Master Bob Bori has reached out to every boat owner occupying village dock space. Many, said Gilbride, have already relocated their vessels and the Coast Guard may decide to send a vessel or two to Sag Harbor Village during the storm said the mayor.
As of Friday afternoon, Mayor Gilbride said no evacuations were planned, but that he would be in regular contact with police and fire officials throughout the next three days. Fire Island is under a mandatory evacuation, and Southampton Village announced this morning that residents of Meadow Lane were being asked to evacuate voluntarily. A mandatory evacuation may be announced in the morning.
The affects of the storm are expected to impact East End residents starting on Saturday night. High winds, flooding and coastal erosion are anticipated as Hurricane Irene nears Long Island.
Sag Harbor Village officials spent this morning prepping for the storm, according to Mayor Brian Gilbride. Sag Harbor Village Police Chief Tom Fabiano is leading emergency efforts for the village, he said.
At 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, Chief Fabiano convened a meeting with Mayor Gilbride, North Haven Mayor Laura Nolan, North Haven Deputy Mayor Jim Smyth, as well as members of the Sag Harbor Volunteer Fire Department, Sag Harbor Village Police Force and Superintendent of Public Works Dee Yardley to give the team an update on the storm’s path and emergency management plans for the village.
According to Mayor Gilbride, Chief Fabiano has already taken the village’s generator to Pierson High School – the local evacuation center – and has confirmed it is working order in the event the evacuation center is needed.
“We are already talking about how to make sure people are safely evacuated,” said Mayor Gilbride.
He encouraged people to prepare for Hurricane Irene by stocking food and water in their homes, as well as flashlights and batteries in the event of a power outage. Mayor Gilbride added that for residents who need shelter for their animals, the Animal Rescue Center of the Hamptons has announced it has a about 50 slots for cats and dogs who cannot be evacuated to Pierson High School or neighboring evacuation centers.
He added that residents in the village who live in low lying areas should be aware that the storm is predicted to cause massive flooding. While Yardley’s crew has spent the last two days clearing drains in the village to keep flooding at a minimum, Mayor Gilbride said those who do live in low lying areas should prepare their homes for evacuation and if emergency management officials call for an evacuation of any neighborhood, residents should immediately comply.
“Make sure you have any extra medicine if you need it, on hand, top off your vehicles with fuel and if you have an elderly neighbor, please check in on them,” said Mayor Gilbride. “We have all been through this before and if we take care of each other and work together we will get through this fine.”
“We’ve been preparing for [hurricane season] for months,” said Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst.
In fact, Southampton Town actually unveiled its official “2011 Hurricane Survival Guide” earlier this month, which provides detailed notes on how to prepare for and what to do in the event of a hurricane; it also provides a list of emergency contacts and evacuation sites in the town. (A link to the guide can be found on the town’s website:www.southamptontownny.gov.)
Should either Southampton or East Hampton Town call a state of emergency and urge residents to evacuate their homes, Sag Harbor residents should go to Pierson High School, which is the local evacuation center. Other important numbers to keep on hand are: The American Red Cross of Suffolk County, 631-924-6700, the Suffolk County Office of Emergency Management, 631-852-4900, the Long Island Power Authority, 1-800-490-0075 (to report down electric lines or an electrical emergency and National Grid, 1-800-490-0045 (to report the need for emergency gas service).