Hurricane Irene's tidal surge may be so powerful additional areas of the Town of North Hempstead abutting Long Island Sound may have to be evacuated, Supervisor Jon Kaiman said.
Areas on the east side of the Port Washington peninsula facing Hempstead Harbor where there have been storm surges exceeding 8 feet in the past have now been added to those on the west side, such as Baxter Estates and Manorhaven, Kaiman said. Those communities face Manhasset Bay. Forecasters expect such a surge over Saturday night, he said.
Residents of the Town of North Hempstead residing in a low lying zone 10 feet or less above sea level must go, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano ordered. Nassau County had a 2010 population of 1.3 million, the Census Bureau reported.
Kaiman, a Democrat, said he was passing on a new directive from Mangano, a Republican. North Hempstead is one of three towns in the county, which also includes the City of Glen Cove and the City of Long Beach, on the south shore, where some predictions said Irene might make Sunday landfall.
Long Beach, with a population of 33,200 in 2010, has many apartment houses built along the waterfront as well as scores of small houses lying just north of the Atlantic Ocean.
Kaiman also passed on a list of North Hempstead high schools where residents can take shelter if they don't have friends or relatives to take them in. They are in communities including Great Neck, Manhasset, Port Washington, Westbury and New Hyde Park.
As well, a directive from N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said some shelters will also admit pets. They include the North Hempstead Animal Shelter in Port Washington.
If a resident has not moved and sees water rising, Stay where you are and call for help through the Town's 311 system, Kaiman said.
Meanwhile, storm preparations continued in Great Neck, with some shopkeepers putting up masking tape or plywood over plate glass windows. Around the deserted Long Island Rail Road station in the Village of Great Neck Plaza, with a population just under 10,000, two florists, an optician and a crystal shop had put up tape.
Business in the usually bustling and tony downtown was low. Many shops had not opened at all. Customers were few and far between except at hairdressers and pizza parlors.
To the north, in the less swank Village of Great Neck, also with a population of 10,000 some shopkeepers were putting up plywood over their windows on Middle Neck Rd., the main artery. Many of these shops were badly damaged in a June 2010 microburst in which several thousand trees were felled in three minutes and power was lost for as much as a week.
Subsequently, the Long Island Power Authority has made efforts to trim trees and prevent power lines from falling again.
Great Neck Taxi, which relies upon LIRR passengers as well as its own dispatch service for business, said calls were way down. One driver at the station said she missed the train traffic but said that with Long Island Bus closed down, she expected a pick-up in calls later.
Nassau County officials and emergency responders were making their last preparations before Hurricane Irene makes landfall.
We've put in sandbags. We've put up boards. We've done everything we could possibly do, said Great Neck Park District Commissioner Ruth Tamarin in an interview in Kings Point, the tip of the Great Neck Peninsula.
There, the Park District sealed off Steppingstone Park, a green space and marina built on property once owned by auto magnate Walter Chrysler. Before that, it removed a massive outdoor sound stage used to host summer time outdoor performances and pulled in floats from the marina.
The Park District also closed a gate leading to the dock and marina, a favorite Great Neck gathering place where people watch Long Island Sound as well as a beloved osprey nest. Only about a dozen of an estimated 60 boats that had been docked there all summer remained.
The Park District also manages several other parks in the community of about 45,000, a section of the Town of North Hempstead in Nassau County, far north of where Irene could make landfall, in Long Beach or in the Town of Hempstead on the south shore.
Great Neck appeared relatively calm and quiet during a few downpours.
At Temple Israel, a Conservative congregation of 930 members, Malka Nebro celebrated her bat mitzvah on schedule. Her prophetic portion began with a verse from Isaiah 54, Unhappy storm-tossed one, uncomforted! a reference to Jerusalem. It was the usual liturgical selection and had no relation to Hurricane Irene.
Nebro said some of her relatives from out of state had cancelled. Her father, Jose Nebro, a trustee of the congregation, said he had cancelled a barbecue for Sunday. A rental company had refused to erect a tent in his back yard due to the storm, he said.
Rabbi Howard Stecker devoted his sermon to a critique of Christopher Hitchens, the atheist author. On Friday, Associate Rabbi Seth Adelson sent members a statement warning against theological misinterpretation of the storm. The weather, and the destruction that it may wreak, is not dependent on God's mood, or indeed our behavior, he wrote.
Plywood was installed over several of the windows of the red-brick Temple Israel building, built in the late 1940s, on the south and west sides. Maintenance employees said it was to prevent any wind damage.
Elsewhere, trucks from Nassau County, Verizon Communications and Long Island Power Authority were on patrol. So were SUVs from the Alert and Vigilant Fire Departments, both volunteer companies. Nassau County has no paid firefighters.
Police service is provided mainly by Nassau County, whose officers are the highest paid in the country. Several villages have their own police departments. In Great Neck, they include Kings Point, Kensington and Great Neck Estates.