Hurricane Sandy moves in, evacuations ordered on LI
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Low-lying areas across Long Island were subject to mandatory evacuation on Sunday, as public officials reacting to the threat of Hurricane Sandy scrambled to clear areas most in danger from high storm surges and directed evacuees to newly opened county shelters.
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano ordered a mandatory evacuation that took effect at 2 p.m. Sunday for flood- or storm-surge areas along the North and South shores.
The North Shore area covers residents whose property is less than 15 feet above sea level. The storm surge there is expected to be between 6 and 11 feet.
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The southern zone, where the surge is predicted to be between 5 and 10 feet, includes the area south of Sunrise Highway from the Queens line to Rockville Centre and south of Merrick Road from Rockville Centre to the Nassau-Suffolk border.
"Do it now," Mangano said Sunday morning, urging those under the evacuation order to leave as soon as possible. "The roads are clear. The stores are open."
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone warned residents not to take the storm lightly.
"The trajectory of this storm may represent a worst-case scenario for Long Island," he said at a news conference Sunday afternoon.
County residents living in evacuation zones were called Sunday and urged to seek shelter elsewhere, Bellone said. Suffolk County parks, campsites and marinas were closed as of 6 p.m. Sunday.
The Town of Islip issued a mandatory evacuation notice for Fire Island, Category 1 storm surge zones, and all four mobile-home parks within the town. Town officials have asked those who are evacuating to take three days' worth of supplies with them.
Mobile-home parks in Riverhead, Brookhaven and Southampton are also subject to mandatory evacuation.
The Town of Babylon, which declared a state of emergency Sunday, has ordered a mandatory evacuation of the town's beach communities and all areas south of Montauk Highway in the town and in the villages of Amityville, Babylon and Lindenhurst. The town has declared Lindenhurst High School and the Town Hall Annex in North Babylon as safe havens, but no cots will be available.
Southampton residents in areas most prone to flooding were told to evacuate, according to a news release.
Supervisor Anna Throne Holst declared a state of emergency, with a mandatory evacuation clause for those living in low-lying coastal areas or "slosh" zones, the town's release said.
Those residents who do not have to evacuate should not go to a shelter, because of limited resources, the release said. Residents going to a shelter should bring blankets, pillows, snacks, bottled water and other necessities.
Dune Road has been closed to pedestrians and motor vehicles because of tidal surge flooding, the town said.
The Town of Riverhead Sunday afternoon issued a mandatory evacuation order for people living in coastal and low-lying areas with a history of flooding. Riverhead announced that it has opened a shelter at Riverhead High School and asked that people in flood-prone areas evacuate by 10 p.m. Sunday.
The Town of Brookhaven issued a mandatory evacuation order for Category 1 coastal areas in the south, and category 1 and 2 coastal areas, including Strongs Neck Peninsula on the North Shore.
Four senior housing facilities were evacuated and their residents relocated in the Town of Hempstead, while about 60 medically fragile patients at Our Lady of Consolation Nursing & Rehabilitative Care Center in West Islip were relocated by ambulance on Sunday.
For those evacuees who aren't able to stay with family or friends on higher ground, shelters will be open across Long Island.
Locust Valley High School and SUNY Old Westbury. A pet-accessible shelter was set up at Nassau County Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale, and a shelter for people with special needs is at Nassau Community College's CCB Building, at 1 Education Dr. in Garden City East. West Hempstead High School was set up as a shelter to meet the needs of Orthodox Jews.
Mangano announced that another shelter would be open at Manhasset High School beginning at 8 a.m. Monday, and that the North Hempstead Town animal shelter would accept pets.
Suffolk County and the American Red Cross opened Hampton Bays High School, Sachem East High School and the Brentwood High School Sonderling Building on Sunday, and the county joined with the Suffolk SPCA to operate two pet-friendly shelters at the Brentwood Recreation Center and the Suffolk County Community College Eastern Campus in Riverhead.
In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Sunday that in light of storm surges expected to reach 6 to 11 feet, he has ordered the mandatory evacuation of about 375,000 people who live in low-lying areas of the city, known as Zone A. Public schools in the city have also been ordered closed on Monday, and the city has opened 72 evacuation centers in public school buildings, Bloomberg said.
"This is a serious and dangerous storm," he said, adding that failure to adhere to the mandatory evacuation would risk the lives of both residents and first responders trying to rescue them.
About 80 Con Edison trucks and vans were amassed at Union Square on Sunday in preparation for the storm.