Nassau and Suffolk county leaders ordered mandatory evacuations in storm surge zones Sunday as shelters opened and mass transit suspended service across Long Island in anticipation of “frankenstorm” Hurricane Sandy.
Officials on both sides of the county line, in New York City and beyond urged residents in flood zones to find someplace to stay inland and not risk riding out the storm. The 2,000-mile-wide storm is expected to begin impacting the region Monday before the heart of the storm hits Tuesday and is forecast to linger through at least Wednesday.
“As soon as the winds begin to hit the 50 mph range, debris becomes deadly,” Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said during a Sunday press conference at Nassau County Office of Emergency Management’s headquarters in Bethpage. “It is a threat to not only you and your family but also to our first responders.”
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Residents south of Sunrise Highway from the Queens line to Rockville Centre and those south of Merrick Road from Rockville Centre to the Nassau-Suffolk border are under mandatory evacuation. On the North Shore, anyone that resides in an area that is 15 feet above sea-level or less will also be forced to evacuate. Long Beach has already been ordered to evacuate.
In Suffolk, Fire Island was evacuated and the Long Island Power Authority cut electricity to the barrier island. Officials also activated the county’s Code Red reverse 911 system to alert residents in flood zones of mandatory and voluntary evacuations.
Officials suggest that those in the evacuation zones stay with family and friends who live outside the storm surge zones. They also opened four shelters at 1 p.m. These shelters are:
Nassau Community College – P Building (1 Education Drive, Garden City East)
Levittown Memorial High School (150 Abbey Lane, Levittown)
Locust Valley High School (99 Horse Hollow Road, Locust Valley)
SUNY Old Westbury (223 Store Hill Road, Old Westbury)
A pet shelter will open at the Nassau County Mitchel Athletic Complex’s Administration Building in Uniondale at 3 p.m. Sunday. At 4 p.m. a Special Needs Shelter will open at Nassau Community College’s CCB Building. Additional shelters will open as needed. An Orthodox Shelter will open at 7 p.m. at West Hempstead High School.
In Suffolk, the following shelters opened at 8 a.m. Sunday:
Hampton Bays High School – 88 Argonne Avenue Hampton Bays, NY 11946Sachem East High School – 177 Granny Road Farmingville, NY 11738
Brentwood High School Sonderling Bldg. – 52 Third Avenue Brentwood, NY 11717
Additional shelter to open at 8 a.m. Monday:
Eastport South Junior/Senior High School- 543 Moriches-Middle Island Road Manorville, NY 11949
Storm surge from Hurricane Sandy is expected to hit a record high of 6 to 11 feet on the North Shore and 5 to 10 feet on the South Shore. Both Nassau and Suffolk counties are currently under a state of emergency.
Mangano urged residents to begin evacuating as soon as possible. Both NICE Bus and the MTA will shut down public transportation starting at 7 p.m. Sunday night.
“Do it now. The roads are clear, the stores are open, the traffic’s moving,” he said. “Now is the time to get comfortable in your friends or your family’s home outside of the surge zone.”
Suffolk non-emergeny calls should be directed to 631-852-COPS. Nassau’s non-emergency nmber is 1-888-684-4274.