With Long Island possibly in the crosshairs of a hurricane or tropical storm bearing down on the East Coast, the county executives for Nassau and Suffolk say county departments are ready to respond, and urge residents to prepare themselves as well.
What the experts call the "main impacts" from Hurricane Isaias should reach Long Island on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"It's much too early to provide any specific details with the track and intensity uncertain, but the storm should be closely monitored," the National Weather Service said. The most likely impacts would be from high surf and dangerous rip currents, the agency said.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Friday directed state agencies to prepare and deploy emergency response assets as Hurricane Isaias continued to gain strength and move closer to the Florida coastline.
"Nassau County is keeping a watchful eye on Hurricane Isaias," Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said during a news briefing Friday. "Our emergency capabilities have been tested like never before this year and we will, in Nassau County, continue to be ready for whatever comes our way."
If evacuations become necessary because of flooding, Curran said the county, mindful of efforts to try to prevent COVID-19 infections, would provide personal protective equipment at emergency shelters, and 6-foot separation would be observed. But she added, "this will be a learning experience."
She said residents should prepare an emergency kit stocked with a three-day supply for each member of the household of such items as food, water and medications. She also suggested people gather important documents. Residents who live in a flood zone should determine their evacuation route, Curran said. More information about how residents can prepare could be found at nassaucountyny.gov/hurricanepreparedness.
"While I don't think we need to panic, I think it's good just to have things in place in case you need to respond," Curran said. "We just want people to make sensible precautions so that we'll be ready for anything."
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, in a statement, had similar advice. "As always, we urge our residents to plan now, and not wait for the actual emergency to occur." He added, "Know if you live in a flood zone and be prepared to evacuate and follow the direction of authorities."
He said COVID-19 protocols would be triggered if emergency shelters had to be used, such as setting up a health screening process for people coming into shelters and providing an isolation area and PPE.
Bellone also urged Suffolk residents to sign up for the county's emergency alert services, "such as the Suffolk County Code Red emergency notification system." He said residents could receive the alerts — emails and text messages — by enrolling at www.suffolkcountyny.gov.
Meantime, Saturday should deliver lots of sunshine and warmth, with a high of 85 degrees.
Starting Sunday and running through Wednesday, however, there's a 40 to 50% chance of downpours and thunderstorms, the weather service said, with high temperatures in the mid-80s.
With Joan Gralla