YAPHANK - Officials in both Nassau and Suffolk counties are bracing for Hurricane Irene as the storm nears Long Island.

In a news conference today, County Executive Ed Mangano (R- Nassau) said that residents in the barrier islands should begin voluntarily evacuations immediately. These areas include Lido Beach, Long Beach, Atlantic Beach and Point Lookout Beach.

Mangano said a mandatory evacuation could happen as early as tonight if Hurricane Irene keeps on its current path. Officials are also urging residents that live north of Route 25A and south of Sunrise Highway to leave immediately.

County Executive Steve Levy (R-Suffolk) says a mandatory evacuation of flood-prone areas on the South Shore, as well as some on the North Shore, will begin at 8 a.m. tomorrow. A mandatory evacuation is already under way on Fire Island.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) is telling residents to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

"Voluntarily evacuations are appropriate at this time," he said. "I also want to make sure we emphasize that just because it is voluntary, does not mean this is not serious. This is a very serious situation."

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