Fire Island Under Hurricane Warning, Mandatory Evacuation Continues
Fire Island remains under a Hurricane Warning and a mandatory evacuation order in advance of Irene.
"We’re worried about getting people off of Fire Island right now," said Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy at a press conference in Yaphank on Thursday, Aug. 25, with Islip Town Supervisor Phil Nolan and Brookhaven Town Supervisor Mark Lesko. Brookhaven officials also announced that mandatory evacuations of Blue Point south of Montauk Highway, Patchogue south of Main Street, East Patchogue south of Main Street east to the intersection of South Country Road and then south of South Country Road and Bellport south of South Country Road. Islip officials have also issued a mandatory evacuation of residents who live within the flood zone of a category one hurricane that will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27.
Islip officials earlier on Thursday urged Fire Islanders to begin to voluntarily evacuate Fire Island ahead of Irene.
"We feel that it is in the best interests of the residents of Fire Island to begin to leave now," said Nolan.
As of 11 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 26, the center of Irene was about 195 miles south-southwest of Cape Hatteras, N.C. Maximum sustained winds were 100 mph and the storm was moving north-northeast at 14 mph.
A Hurricane Warning is in effect from Little River Inlet, N.C., to Sagamore Beach, Ma., including Delaware Bay and Chesapeake Bay south of Drum Point, Md. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from Edisto Beach, S.C., to Little River Inlet, N.C., for Chesapeake Bay north of Drum Point, Md., and the Potomac River estuary and from Sagamore Beach, Ma., to the mouth of the Merrimack River in Massachusetts. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect from the Merrimack River to Eastport, Maine.
The last ferries from Fire Island Pines and Cherry Grove to Sayville will run at 11:50 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27. The Davis Park Ferry urged residents to evacuate Davis Park by noon on Saturday, while the last ferries to Bay Shore will run at 3 p.m. on Saturday. Sayville Ferries will close their daily parking lot across from their terminal at 3 p.m. on Saturday in anticipation of flooding from Irene.
The Long Island Railroad and subway and bus service in New York City will shut down at noon on Saturday. Suffolk officials have also opened shelters at Brentwood Senior High School and Longwood Senior High School. A pet shelter is open at the Brentwood Recreation Center.
Forecasters expect Irene will make landfall somewhere on central or western Long Island on Sunday. Fire Island could experience winds of up to 95 mph as the storm passes over the area on Sunday afternoon. More than 7 inches of rain are possible on Fire Island, while the beach could see a potential storm surge of up to 8 feet as Irene passes over the area. (Water covered the beach and lapped at the base of dunes in Ocean Beach during high tide around 5 p.m. on Friday.) Hurricane force winds could reach Fire Island around sunrise on Sunday.
Visitors and residents of Fire Island certainly took the evacuation orders seriously.
"I just want to get home and get to the store before everything runs out," said Deer Park resident Eileen Hastie as she waited for the 1:20 p.m. ferry from Ocean Beach to Bay Shore on Friday.