NOAA COURTESY GRAPHIC
Hurricane Earl was just north of the Bahamas when The Suffolk Times went to press, on a track forecast to take it east of Long Island Friday night.
Southold’s emergency management team is on alert for any surprises as well as the effects of the hurricane’s winds and rain, even far from its center.
“We’re mobilizing now,” said Supervisor Scott Russell. “We’re certainly concerned every time the word ‘hurricane’ is used.”
On Wednesday, Hurricane Earl was about 680 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina with top winds of about 125 mph, and had been downgraded from a category 4 to a category 3 storm. The National Weather Service estimated that it was moving northwest at 17 miles per hour. Most forecasts for Long Island predicted that Earl will pass east of Long Island, with rain and wind hitting the area Friday and continuing into Saturday.
Experts initially predicted Earl would miss Montauk Point by more than 100 miles, although later reports shaved that to 75 miles. Tropical storm force winds extend 200 miles out from the center of the storm, which is expected to weaken as it moves north of the Carolinas.
The town’s emergency management team met on Wednesday afternoon, not long after Mr. Russell received a storm update from Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy.
The supervisor said that the county expects three to five inches of rain and 35 mph winds on the East End, and warns of rip tides, beach erosion and a storm surge of two feet. The county was not advising evacuation or opening of shelters as of Wednesday afternoon.
Mr. Russell said that he was most concerned about flooding at Hasha