According to the most recent data from the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Irene is now forecasted to make landfall on Long Island sometime Sunday afternoon, the storm’s center hitting somewhere in western Suffolk County or eastern Nassau County.
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.)
Though hurricane activity—especially 96 hours out from its expected arrival—is relatively unpredictable, Throne-Holst explained, she said will meet with all Southampton Town department heads at 8:30 Friday morning, August 26 to regroup before the weekend. “By then we should have a pretty good sense of what we’re dealing with.”
The town is currently in the process of putting together templates for emergency orders.
East Hampton Supervisor Bill Wilkinson did not return calls for comment, but Deputy Highway Superintendent Kevin Ahearn said the department is avidly checking the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website for hurricane updates. In the meantime, he said, “We’re just making sure our equipment is in shape.”
In addition to maintaining a strong supply of fuel oil, gas and chainsaw oil, Ahearn said all highway department personnel will be on-call this weekend.
Throne-Holst added, “I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that it’s no worse than what we’re expecting.”
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).