A weakened Hurricane Earl made its way towards Long Island Friday afternoon, with forecasters expecting it not to make landfall, but with officials preparing for the worst just in case.
Earl has been downgraded to a Category 1 storm with winds topping out at 85 mph. A tropical storm warning remained in effect for areas east of the Fire Island Inlet on the south shore and Port Jefferson Harbor on the north shore.
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, working in conjunction with the Town of Hempstead, City of Long Beach and Town of Oyster Bay, has announced all Nassau County beaches closed until the dangers caused by the arrival of Hurricane Earl pass Long Island and the waters become safe again.
"After a conference call with the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management and all of the coordinating agencies, we will heed the advice of the National Weather Service and close our beaches for the safety of our residents," said Mangano.
The Marine Forecast calls for "the worst case scenario for swimmers to enter the water. Extremely strong rip current and moderate surf advisory for Atlantic-facing beaches."
"There is no reason to take a chance and venture into the surf today," said Mangano. "No matter the lure of the ocean, the decision to swim could result in dire consequences. Please take the advice of the experts and stay out of the ocean."
The following beaches are closed to swimmers:
Village of Atlantic Beach
Town of Hempstead Beaches:
- Point Lookout
- Lido West
- East Atlantic Beach
- Jones Beach
Town of Oyster Bay Beaches:
Also keeping a close eye on Earl, LIPA has established staging areas for restoration efforts, and will supplement their own crews with additional repair crews from outside the LIPA service territory. To date, LIPA and National Grid have over 2,200 workers ready to assist in restoration efforts.
Storm Preparations Plans:
How LIPA and National Grid are preparing for Hurricane Earl:
- Closely monitoring the storm's progress on an around-the-clock basis
- Preparing all restoration equipment and inventories and pre-stocking the east end with wires, transformers, and additional restoration equipment
- Coordinating efforts with state, New York City, county and local emergency management organizations will be ongoing
- Electric system and gas system personnel are available on extended 16 hour shifts
- Additional Call Center personnel added and schedules arranged for extended coverage
- Logistics are being confirmed for housing electric restoration crews from outside the area at lodging sites on Long Island
- Proactive outreach efforts continue to be made for critical care and special needs customers and facilities
- Outreach continues to customers via, phone calls, media alerts, email blasts, and public service announcements via local radio stations
Steps Customers Can Take
As the storm approaches, customers should take the following steps to prepare for the arrival of either a hurricane or tropical storm.
- Never touch or go near fallen wires, even if you think they are safe. Parents can use this opportunity to remind children that wires are dangerous. If you are in a vehicle that comes in contact with a downed wire, stay in your vehicle until help arrives.
- Make sure you have a working, battery powered radio or TV and a good supply of fresh replacement batteries. Have flashlights available for all family members.
- If an electric pump supplies your water, fill spare food-grade containers with water for cooking and washing in anticipation of a possible power interruption.
- Make sure all motor driven equipment, such as garage door openers, can be operated manually.
- When using a portable generator, make sure all LIPA-powered equipment is disconnected. This will avoid severe hazards when reconnecting the power to your home or business.
- Have a first aid kit at home and check its contents to make sure they are complete and up to date. If you have family members with special medical needs, such as insulin or other prescription drugs, check to make sure you have an adequate supply.
- Do not use charcoal to cook indoors: deadly carbon monoxide gas can accumulate in your home.
- If you have an elderly neighbor, be a Good Samaritan and check on his or her status. Even a quick telephone call during a storm can provide much appreciated assurance that help is nearby if needed.
- Should an electric power interruption occur, all sensitive equipment, such as computers and TV's should be disconnected until service is restored
Edward Robinson contributed to this article.