While shelters are opening and people in low-lying areas are being asked to evacuate, East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson officially declared a State of Emergency on Saturday morning.
Afterwards, town and village officials gave residents and the East Hampton Town Board a briefing on the storm.
East Hampton High School has been opened as a Red Cross shelter, though there a slightly problem with staffing earlier Saturday. The Montauk Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary has opened the Montauk Community Playhouse as a shelter, as well.
The , as fire department volunteers went door-to-door warning those in low-lying areas to seek shelter.
Diane Patrizo, the director of the town's human services department, said a Special Needs Center has been established at the East Hampton Senior Center. "Anyone with an electronic medical device can come because we have a generator," she said.
There are 10 cots and Patrizo is prepared to stay there herself. "I brought a sleeping bag," she told the East Hampton Town Board during a work session on Saturday morning.
There are three town bus drivers on stand-by and there is wheel-chair accessible bus available, Patrizo said.
If someone with medical issues needs assistance or even just want to be checked on, they can call 631-324-6711.
Mary Bromley, a local psychotherapist, has also offered mental health services to those who may require it at the center during the storm.
"We've called people so much, they've asked to stop," Patrizo said. Many people who have oxygen tanks and dialysis machines already have generators.
Bruce Bates, the town's emergency management coordinator, said that anyone going to a shelter should bring, "Anything that will make you comfortable," such as pillows, blankets, snacks, games and books. The shelter will provide basic meals and water.
"It's not hotel accommodations," he said, adding, "Once you are there, you may not leave until you are released by the shelter manager."
Betsey Bambrick, the head of animal control division, said she is getting the pet shelter ready at the Montauk Community Playhouse. An officer will also be at the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons to take pets whose owners are evacuating.
East Hampton Town Police Chief Ed Ecker said double the amount of police officers that are normally working are on duty or on-call for the storm. Still, he said, during the storm, the officers will seek shelter and calls will be triaged. "We'll handle calls on a case-by-case basis," he said.
East Hampton Village Police Captain Mike Tracey, who also attended the meeting, said the village's emergency 911 system, which handles all fire and ambulance calls throughout East Hampton Town, is also being staffed double the amount.
He warned, "Just because your house is not in the flood zone ... doesn't mean you're not going to have a problem. There may be flooding on the street or trees down. We may not be able to get an ambulance to your house."
Beaches throughout the town and village have been closed.
State Parks Police Sgt. Manny Vilar said the state parks, such as Camp Hero, are closed, including to surfers.
"We can't stress enough how dangerous the ocean is going to be in the next two days," Tracey said, adding there has been an extreme amount of erosion already due to high-tide Saturday morning. "Surf conditions higher than seen in many years," he said.
The East Hampton Town Trustees are bracing for the beach damage. "We're holding our breath and waiting to see what happens afterwards," said Trustee Clerk Diane McNally. "We know there is going to be damage."
The town has already contacted the Department of Environment Conservation about emergency permits to rebuild dunes lost to erosion.
"Last time we had a storm, they were like quick 'Johnny-on the spot'," McNally said.
Most of calls she has received have been from Georgica Pond area, she said. Despite requests, she said it would not be beneficial to open the pond in the face of the storm.
"It's not going to surprise me if Mother Nature does it herself during the storm," she said, adding that they will evaluate the water table and flooding afterwards.
She warned the bay side of town will be just as detrimental as the ocean side. Gerard Drive will be a problem. "That causeway, I'm not going to be surprised if it's over-washed," she said.
Wilkinson agreed. "Don't view this simply as a southern coast event because of surges there is quite a bit of concern about the north side"
Both the town and the village has an Emergency Operations Center, which handles basic calls and coordinates response. The town's is located in the Communications Building behind the courthouse this afternoon. The village's is at the Emergency Services Building that also houses the East Hampton Fire Department.