10/27/12 12:19pm
10/27/2012 12:19 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Steve Burns with dogs Tashia and Zeus along a section of Green Street in South Jamesport following Hurricane Irene in August 2011

To evacuate or not evacuate? That is the question.

As they consider the most prudent response to the threats of high winds and flooding anticipated with the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, town officials must first decide whether to require the evacuation of some areas, particularly low-lying regions, and then open shelters for the displaced.

Riverhead officials expect to no more following this afternoon’s emergency management personnel meeting, said Supervisor Sean Walter.

He is most concerned for the safety of residents living south of Peconic Bay Boulevard, along Creek Road in Wading River and in unsecured mobile homes. If any areas are to be evacuated, those would be the ones, the supervisor said.

There are an estimated 1,300 mobile homes in Riverhead, said Mr. Walter, but it’s not known how many have not been “stapped down” to prevent them from moving in high winds.

The town must also decide if it will follow the path taken during Hurricane Irene 14 months ago to open a shelter in the Riverhead school and bus people there.

With the Town of Southampton already deciding to open a shelter in Hampton Bays, Riverhad can transport residents in need of shelter there rather than opening its own shelter, which is a massive undertaking, the supervisor said.

With Halloween just days away, Mr. Walter said he hadn’t expected to face such choices at this time.

“It’s a scary thought,” he said. “I thought we had gotten through all this, but I guess not.”

08/27/11 12:11pm
08/27/2011 12:11 PM

The lighter shaded areas on the Suffolk County storm surge map indicate areas that could be flooded by a category I hurricane such as Irene..

Mandatory evacuations are underway in Riverhead Town.

Residents of low lying areas near water and residents who live in unstrapped mobile homes are being evacuated in anticipation of Hurricane Irene, according to Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter and Police Chief David Hegermiller.

The evacuees can go to Riverhead High School, which is being used as an emergency shelter operated by the American Red Cross.

The low-lying areas affected by the evacuation are shown on county flood maps for a category one hurricane, which Irene is expected to be, according to the chief.

Those maps can be found on the county’s web site.

About 250 homes are expected to be evacuated, the chief said. Residents who are going to be evacuated will be notified by phone, he said.

These areas includes most of South Jamesport, areas in downtown Riverhead and Jamesport that are close to the Peconic River, the north end of Edwards Avenue in Calverton, and Creek Road in Wading River, officials said.

Some residents in the Longneck Boulevard section of Flanders, which is in Southampton Town, told the News-Review that they were told to evacuate north of June Avenue as of noon.

Southampton Town, like Riverhead, has issued a state of emergency.

Southampton Town is also ordering mandatory evacuation of low lying areas and mobile homes, according to Lt. Robert Iberger of the town police.

Southampton Town has an emergency shelter at Hampton Bays High School.

There is also a shelter for pets at the Woodland Building on Suffolk Community College’s Eastern Campus in Northampton.

Officials say shelters should only be used as a last resort, and residents should try to stay with a friend or relative if possible.

The hurricane is expected to produce tropical storm winds Saturday night and to pass over western Long Island border at about 8 a.m. Sunday with category one force winds of at least 74 mph.