Suffolk County, including the Hamptons, battened down Saturday for the possibility of a direct hit from Hurricane Henri, as residents rushed to stock up in supermarkets, worried summer revelers streamed out of the East End and officials issued a voluntary evacuation order for Fire Island.
“We are urging residents and visitors of Fire Island to come off the island, to leave Fire Island today for their own safety,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said during a press conference at the Bay Shore afternoon
Bellone noted that there is a question about whether Henri will remain a hurricane or be downgraded to a tropical storm when it reaches Long Island sometime Sunday.
The storm was upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane Saturday morning.
“Whether it’s a Cat 1 hurricane or a tropical storm, this storm is significant and potentially dangerous,” he said, noting that 650,000 power outages resulted last summer from Tropical Storm Isiais, which was not a direct hit.
The potentially deadly storm surge Henri is bringing is a major concern.
Blue Point contractor Bob Votino wasn’t wasting time.
“I’m worried,” said Votino, 38, as he worked to pull his 28.3 foot paddle cruiser out of the water at the Westhampton Beach Marina Saturday morning. “The hurricane is tracking right over Westhampton so I’m getting [the boat] out.”
Steve Johnson, 39, a friend, who lives in Bayport and was helping Votino hook the boat up to his pickup truck, said Long Islanders in general are taking the storm warnings seriously.
“Yesterday there were lines at gas stations and supermarkets,” he said. “People are worried and stocking up on essentials like water, milk and bread — enough to get through a couple of days.”
An employee at the Lidl supermarket in Westhampton Beach told the Post the store sold a week’s worth of water in a day on Friday.
Power outages are another big worry.
Leanne Plum, 52, and her husband Eric, 58, lost power for six days following 2012’s Superstorm Sandy, which traveled a similar path north along the U.S. coastline before slamming into New Jersey.
“We are getting the basics like ice, gas, milk, eggs and barbecue fluid so we can basically ride out the storm,” said Plum, a hairdresser who lives with her husband, who works for Southampton Town Police, in East Quogue.
“We’re monitoring the situation,” said Westhampton Beach Fire Chief Mauro di Benedetto. “Our engines are prepped and ready to go and we have a standby crew and water truck. We’ll see what the storm brings.”