A graphic from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration shows the path of destruction Hurrican Earl
appears headed on.
Hurricane Earl, the second major Atlantic hurricane of the season, is still way down by the Caribbean’s Leeward Islands, but it could hit here in a matter of days and that has Southold’s emergency management team on alert.
“We’re mobilizing now,” said Supervisor Scott Russell. “We’re certainly concerned every time the word hurricane is used.”
Earl could swing north east and miss the coast, but there’s also a chance it could make landfall somewhere in the Northeast, including Long Island.
By Tuesday afternoon the hurricane was moving away from Puerto Rico and had strengthened to a Category 4 storm. It was moving west-northwest at 14 mph with top winds of 135 mph.
Should the need arise, the town would open emergency shelters in the Mattituck, Southold, Greenport and Oysterponds schools. The town’s Human Resources Center in Mattituck and the Peconic Landing facility in Greenport would be open for those with medical issues.
Depending on the storm’s track, a decision on the shelters could be made as soon as Wednesday, said Lt. William Sawicki of the Southold town police. the town’s deputy emergency manager.
The town conducted a hurricane “table top” drill at the Southold firehouse just a few weeks ago, the supervisor said. That involved police, local fire departments and ambulance corps and the town’s highway department.
“It was a good exercise and we think we’re in good shape,” Mr. Russell said. “Our first responders are very well trained, but you can never be too prepared for these things.”
Lt. Sawicki and the supervisor both stress that emergency preparedness begins in the home. During hurricane season people should stock their shelves with staples such as canned goods, bottled water, flashlights and batteries, and battery-operated radios.