Focus 12: Ready or Not - Part II

Experts agree a hurricane will eventually hit Long Island, but the aftermath has them more worried than the storm itself. The destruction would be catastrophic if a category 3 hurricane were to hit the

News 12 Staff

Aug 17, 2007, 9:50 PM

Updated 6,181 days ago

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Experts agree a hurricane will eventually hit Long Island, but the aftermath has them more worried than the storm itself.
The destruction would be catastrophic if a category 3 hurricane were to hit the Island, said hurricane researcher Scott Mandia.
"There will certainly be places where the Sunrise Highway is under water," he said. "And some of the rivers that run north and south on the Island, storm surge models have shown that the LIE would actually be under water [and] impassable."
LIPA projects up to 1 million power outages in a category 3 storm, and many more for a category 4 hurricane. It could take from several weeks to more than a month for power to be completely restored, Mandia said.
Mandia believes most residents aren't ready.
"I think our New York toughness works against us," he said. "Most of those people aren't even properly prepared for a blizzard."
Strong winds could completely knock out a home's windows, but Mandia said that's not the worst part. After the windows are gone, he said the wind can then lift off the roof, so boarding up windows is vital.
For those who don't or can't evacuate, 121 Suffolk locations will be able to shelter 58,000 people. That would house about one in four people facing danger from the storm.
Suffolk Emergency Management's Joe Williams hopes people don't rely on the shelters.
"The plan is not to go to a shelter," he said. "[If] you don't plan, you wind up in a shelter."
With a plan in place, Williams said residents could be self-sufficient in their homes for 48 to 72 hours. As for whether he thinks Long Islanders are heeding experts' warnings, Williams said, "Unfortunately, I don't think so."


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