New York Area Gears Up For Possible Hermine Hit
Post-tropical Cyclone Hermine is regaining strength as it moves slowly up the Eastern Seaboard.
Tropical storm warnings are in effect as far north as Connecticut, with a dangerous storm surge expected along the coast from Virginia to New Jersey.
Residents in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — particularly those who live along the coastline — are taking precautions. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has already activated the state’s emergency operations center.
The calm before the storm is the best time to prepare for the worst, officials say, and crews in Hempstead’s Point Lookout spent the day tying down boats to docks and building sand dunes along the beach to protect from high winds and high tides.
It’s just a small part of what’s being done in preparation for Hermine.
“We’ve got chainsaws being oiled and made sure they’re operational, should we have major trees coming down to block streets,” Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino said. “We have again vehicles being fueled up. We have all of the boats on various town marinas being secured. We are moving non-essential equipment to higher ground.”
In Deer Park at the United Way of Long Island’s headquarters, Sept. 1 marked the kickoff to National Preparedness Month.
“Being prepared before an event happens is probably the most important thing you can do,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said. “We don’t have enough information to warrant a suggestion that people don’t go to Fire Island for the weekend. We want people to enjoy the Labor Day weekend.”
Officials launched BeReadyLI.org, the regions newest online resource that also aims at keeping kids safe with interactive videos providing an all-in-one database for need-to-know updates and alerts.
“We’ve met with the Red Cross, we’ve reviewed our sheltering plan,” Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said. “We drive the coastal evacuation routes to review whether there’s any construction, whether there’s any debris in the storm drains, so we can alert the public if there’s any hazard that was unexpected when we advised residents to utilize the coastal evacuation routes.”
Officials say there are common sense steps you can be doing to prepare, as well, like fueling cars and generators, moving vehicles to higher ground and bringing belongings upstairs from the basement.
New Yorkers should take actions ahead of the storm to prepare for high winds, minor-to-moderate coastal flooding, rain, life-threatening rip tides, and high surf.
Along the Jersey shore, some towns were beginning to discuss preparations for the days ahead, while others were taking a wait-and-see approach.
Officials in Long Branch said they were prepared.
“We’re just on standby right now,” emergency management coordinator and beach operations director Stanley Dziuba said. “We have our hardware vehicles prepared, ready to go. We have our shelters in place, and we’re just going through our checklist, making sure everything is ready to go.”
He said they’ll be closely monitoring the weather, hour by hour, for the next few days and ramping up preparations as needed in vulnerable and flood prone areas.
“Right now, we’re not expecting anything really major,” he said. “But things change. Every five, 10 minutes, it seems like we get different updates.”
City leaders and business owners in Seaside Heights say the boardwalk was pretty thin Friday night.
Labor day weekend, the unofficial last weekend of the summer, is normally jam packed.
But visitors were scared away by the threat of Tropical Storm Hermine.
Mayor Tony Vaz says crews in the borough have run through their checklist of preparations, including temporary sand barriers on the north end of the boardwalk.
“We take sand from the beach, it’s temporary and we push it as far up to the boardwalk as possible, so that in the event there is flooding there is a blockage from it going into the streets and properties in town,” Mayor Vaz said.
In nearby Sea Bright, lifeguards say they’ll be keeping close watch on the tide, with rip currents already presenting problems this week.
“We’re expecting a lot of energy happening,” assistant beach manager Susana Markson said. “I know they’re talking about the cone of uncertainty coming. We’re not rally sure what edge of the storm we’re going to get, or anything. We’re prepared for any possibility.”
Seaside Heights emergency management officials are still discussing whether or not they’ll erect temporary sand dunes, saying decisions like that will likely be made further into the weekend.