Story by Jeff Lipton.
As Hurricane Sandy
barrels toward the East Coast, Long Beach officials are deploying extreme precautions
in the event a massive storm could touch down on the city.
City Manager Jack Schnirman said the city is closely monitoring the storm, holding a series of meetings with key advisors.
“We have all of our team and departments on red alert,” Schnirman said in a phone interview Thursday night. “We have held a series of preparation meetings and we are coordinating additional preparation meetings on Friday and throughout the weekend.”
Schnirman said that on Thursday he huddled with officials from the city’s Department of Public Works, and police and fire departments to go over their strategy during a hurricane.
“Right now we are taking every precaution,” said Schnirman, who is going through his first hurricane warning as the city manager. “Everyone at all levels is discussing preparations.”
It’s still too early to tell if Long Beach will be hit hard, he said, but it wouldn’t hurt the city and its residents to take measures to limit the potential damage.
Hurricane Sandy will arrive about 14 months after Hurricane Irene pummeled the area with high winds and a strong storm surge, forcing a county-issued mandatory evacuation of the city.
As of Thursday night, Sandy weighed in as a category 2 hurricane
. The brunt of the storm is expected to hit the region late Monday afternoon into Tuesday morning, with winds possibly topping 60 to 80 MPH. The storm surge could reach four to eight feet high and potentially worse than the surge seen during Irene. In addition, with a full moon expected on Monday, astronomical tides will be a foot higher than normal. Three to six inches of rain is possible, according to reports.
Long Beach officials have been coordinating their efforts with the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management and LIPA, as well as other levels of government to get a worst-case scenario on what the city should expect.
“We are prepared to implement our response plan,” Schnirman said. “We want to get the latest information on what to expect. We will be prepared.”
He said sandbags are available for residents to pick up at City Hall or 150 West Pine St., as one of the precautions the city is taking.
“We urge our residents to plan in advance by taking precautions and securing their belongings,” he added. “We will be offering continuing updates as we get the information.”
The city manager said the information will be available on the city website
as well as Facebook
City officials also put into motion its Swift 911 system, which automatically calls each resident with helpful information and updates.
He said the city might not know until Saturday whether an evacuation is in order for the coastal community.
Schnirman said that earlier in the year the city held a series of hurricane preparedness sessions and the city’s website has a step-by-step guide about what to do during such an event.
“As a coastal community, we take our preparedness seriously,” he said. “We want folks to continue to monitor the storm and watch for updates.”
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