The National Hurricane Center downgraded Hurricane Irene to a tropical storm just as the storm’s center moved over New York City around 9 a.m.
By 8 a.m. on Sunday morning, Sag Harbor Village Mayor Brian Gilbride had driven through the entire Village of Sag Harbor, observing the highway department removing fallen limbs from roadways and addressing downed power lines as the category 1 Hurricane Irene was close to making landfall near New York City.
Power lines were reported down in Redwood and one Jermain Avenue, but were being addressed by highway department officials, said Mayor Gilbride.
“We are in good shape,” said Mayor Gilbride. “We do have some spots where there is a lot of water in the road, but (Sag Harbor Village Police Chief and the commander of the village’s emergency management team) Tom Fabiano and the rest of the village staff have done an excellent job.”
Despite the East End seemingly avoiding the worst of Hurricane Irene, Mayor Gilbride urged residents to remain cautious and stay inside throughout the course of the storm.
“We are being told the next three hours are critical,” said Mayor Gilbride. “The wind and the rain should pick up and after that the storm will start moving out of the area.”
Mayor Gilbride added that high tide in Sag Harbor expected to peak at 10:30 a.m. and that flooding would be at its worst during that period. As of 8 a.m. there was only about two feet between the top of Long Wharf and the rising water, he said.
Two residents did take advantage of the emergency shelter at Pierson High School, said Gilbride, who added he was surprised more people in low lying areas did not take shelter at the school.
Meanwhile, the National Hurricane Center announced this morning that tropical storm Jose has developed near Bermuda, tracking north, although not projected to hit the United States as of now.