New York’s emergency operations center will open Sunday as state and local officials prepare to battle Tropical Storm Hermine, which is expected to bring high winds and rain to New York City and Long Island over Labor Day weekend.
On Long Island in Brentwood and at Kennedy Airport, stockpiles of equipment and food available for immediate use include 200,000 sandbags, 58 light towers, 29 generators, 252,000 bottles of water and 97,000 ready-to-eat meals, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Friday.
The governor said the National Guard has also been placed on alert.
“While there is still uncertainty as to how far west the storm will track as it approaches New York State, we stand ready and prepared to respond with emergency equipment, supplies and personnel,” Cuomo said in a statement.
The storm made landfall in Florida early Friday as a Category 1 hurricane before it was downgraded to tropical storm status. By afternoon, Hermine was barreling over southeastern Georgia.
Storm preparations were also underway in Nassau and Suffolk.
State park workers Friday removed heavier equipment off the sand, including four main lifeguard stands off the beaches at Robert Moses State Park, said George Gorman Jr., deputy regional director for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
Smaller stands will remain as long as swimmers are allowed on the beaches.
“We still have to watch over them,” Gorman said.
Unlike New York City, whose mayor announced that city beaches will be closed to swimmers Sunday due to concerns over “dangerous riptides,” Gorman said his office has not made a decision regarding closing beaches at Long Island’s state parks but will continue to monitor the storm’s progress.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone urged residents to visit the county’s website and sign up for the emergency alert system known as Code Red, which allows Fire Rescue and Emergency Services to deliver messages directly to residents’ homes and businesses.
He also advised residents to join the Smart911 program, which asks users for personal information — such as home addresses and medical issues. The information, linked to users’ cellphones, would be provided to 911 operators when residents use cellphone to call 911.
In Nassau, the county’s emergency operations center is scheduled to open Sunday at 4 p.m., said a spokesman for County Executive Edward Mangano. Meanwhile, workers were busy clearing storm drains, fueling emergency vehicles and securing structures.
The storm is expected to stall off the coast of Long Island and hang around for a few days. That, Gorman and Bellone said, could wreak more havoc on Long Island’s coastal areas.
“The potential for it to hang out in the Atlantic, relatively stationary, and just churning up the seas and creating Nor’easter-like conditions for a significant period of time — that is our greatest concern,” Bellone said. “And, if that happens, obviously, the focus of our concerns is going to be on erosion along the coastline as well as flooding.”
A quick-moving storm, Gorman said, means the beaches will be pounded by one or two tide cycles. But a storm that lingers for several days means there may be four or five tide cycles.
“It increases the chance of significant erosion,” said Gorman.