With Hurricane Sandy makes its way toward Long Island, East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and Village Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. declared a state of emergency on Sunday, as volunteer firefighters visit residents in low-lying areas and officials make plans to open a shelter.
Wilkinson said he got word from the County Deputy Commissioner of Fire Rescue Emergency Services that a Red Cross shelter will be opened in the Town of East Hampton. He believes it will be opened at East Hampton High School. Further details will be announced as they are available.
Officials are still coordinating details, but this location will be opened by 8 a.m. on Monday morning.
"The volunteer fire departments are going out to low-lying areas to inform people that the surge is going to be greater than it was during Irene," Wilkinson said, after an emergency operations meeting. A voluntary evacuation program is in effect.
Sandy is expected to bring 50 to 70 mph winds with damage to trees and power outages, a potential storm surge of 6 to 10 feet above normal, severe beach erosion and flooding of low lying areas on Monday and Tuesday, according to a joint statement from the town and the village.
"The trouble with the storm is not only the surge significance but the time frame," Wilkinson said.
Firefighters from departments in Amagansett, Springs, and East Hampton are going around to houses in low-lying, flood-prone areas to recommend residents seek shelter if they are as concerned about the projected storm surges. Areas of particular concern include Ditch Plains in Montauk, Gerard Drive in Springs, Louse Point and Lazy Point in Amagansett.
"Residents are advised to keep the roads clear for the next two days and please limit any non-essential traffic so emergency crews can do their work," the statement said.
The East Hampton Village Emergency Operations center will be opened at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday and the non-emergency number 631-324-0945.
Police Lt. Chris Hatch visited motels and hotels along the shoreline in Montauk to advise them of the storm surge as well, Wilkinson said.