As Hurricane Sandy is regaining strength barreling up the East Coast, North Fork residents are preparing for the worst this massive storm has to give late Sunday through Tuesday.
The National Weather Service had downgraded Sandy from a hurricane to tropical storm, but as of the Saturday 11 a.m. advisory, Sandy is a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph. It’s moving to the north-northeast at 9 mph off the coast of Florida. The latest track has Sandy making landfall along the Delaware-New Jersey border late Monday into Tuesday.
But unlike Tropical Storm Irene, which pummeled the North Fork last August mostly with wind damage, Hurricane Sandy will dump more water on the area via rainfall than Irene did, and flooding from tidal storm surges with a full moon happening this week will be a real danger to those is low-lying areas — no matter which way the storm veers, said Len Llewellyn, Mattituck resident and cooperative observer for the National Weather Service.
“On Monday, we’re going to have the full moon, which means the tides will already be exceptionally high,” he said. “And we’re going to see a heck of a lot of water fall no matter which track this storm takes.”
Westhampton-Hampton Bays Patch reported today on how flooding from the Atlantic will completely inundate Dune Road and flood north all way into the main streets of the village. Here, vulnerable areas like New Suffolk Waterfront, Hashamomuck Cove in Southold, and the whole of Greenport Village need to be more prepared for flooding than ever.
Lynn Laskos, a resident of Hashamomuck Cove who for years has fought for more protection at that residential Long Island Sound Front location, cut short a business trip to Chicago to secure her Southold home. She said she’s no longer worried about a force she cannot control.
“I used to get so emotional, but now, I can’t do anything but think — whatever happens, happens,” she said. “Life is so much more important than a piece of furniture or a house. And you never know — we might see the eerily beautiful storm surges we saw with Irene last year.”
Mattituck resident Doris McGreevy, who lives on the bluffs above Bailie Beach just to the east of the Mattituck Inlet, said that those on the bluffs are naturally concerned about beach erosion at the vulnerable thin stretch of beach and damage to their rooftops with high winds. She said that she and her neighbors are more concerned for their neighbors to the west in the flood-prone low-lying areas of the Inlet.
“They’re expecting a lot of flooding over there, they’ve been putting things away for a couple of days now,” McGreevy said. “But you know, everyone over here is doing what every household is doing — ridding the area of fly-away items and just hoping for the best. It’s just part and parcel of living by the water — this is not the first time a hurricane has hit and it won’t be the last.”
That might be true, but to Llewellyn, this particular hurricane needs to be watched closely.
“Whether we get the front or the back of the storm, we’re all going to get something out of it,” he said.
What are you doing to prepare for the storm? Let us know in the comment boxes below.