Local Municipalities Prep for Possible Hurricane

Path of Hurricane Irma as of Wednesday afternoon. Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association
Path of Hurricane Irma as of Wednesday afternoon. Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association

Officials in East Hampton, Southampton and Sag Harbor have their eyes on the eye of Hurricane Irma, which as of Wednesday afternoon was in the middle of hitting several islands in the Caribbean and barreling toward Florida, and the possibility of a tropical storm, dubbed Jose, right behind Irma.

“We’re monitoring this storm very closely because it’s clearly a very dangerous storm,” East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said Tuesday. “It’s over a week away from here, so it’s very difficult to a clear forecast of impacts that it might have on our area. Still, I think everyone needs to be on alert and needs to monitor it.”

He advised residents to visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) online and use its hurricane preparedness guidelines to set up a “ready kit” filled with essential items such as batteries, medications, a three-to-five day supply of water, a radio, canned foods and more.

Southampton Town Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone assured residents that the towns and county are working together to plan coordinated emergency responses if necessary. He said officials are communicating two or three times per day right now regarding Hurricane Irma and its potential impacts. Town halls have generators, shelters such as Hampton Bays High School will open up and shelters for animals are also available, he said.

“I think we’re as prepared as you can get,” Mr. Zappone said. “God forbid the issues are as dramatic as you’re seeing in Houston. No amount of preparation can prevent things from happening, but what we hope is we can protect life and property.”

Sag Harbor Police Chief Austin J. McGuire said the village has plans, supplies and tools in place should a hurricane hit here. Pierson Middle-High School is a possible shelter, he said, and all aspects of government are ready to sit at the table for a coordinated response.

“We have everything in place that needs to happen,” Mr. McGuire said. “It’s just really early on, and we’re monitoring it.”

— Christine Sampson