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Sep 1, 2010 12:16 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Models show possibility of hurricane impacting East End

Sep 1, 2010 12:16 PM

With weather forecasters predicting that Hurricane Earl likely will pass close to Long Island by the end of the week—and the possibility of landfall on the East End has not been ruled out—local agencies are warning residents to start making basic preparations for the storm now.

“The models right now are showing that the storm should stay off the East Coast, but you’re within the cone of error there,” said Barry Baxter, a meteorologist with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. “That far out, four or five days, there is a 250-to-300-mile potential error with the track.”

The East End has not been hit by a strong storm in nearly 20 years—since the eye of Hurricane Bob passed just east of Montauk in 1991. The last time the East End was directly impacted by a hurricane was Hurricane Gloria in 1986, a Category 1 storm when it hit.

The long drought of storms, however, could spell bad news for East End residents when a storm does eventually come ashore again. Experts have warned that because large tree branches have grown around power lines, a direct impact by even a moderately strong tropical storm with heavy rains could bring widespread power outages.

The Long Island Power Authority and National Grid this week asked customers to prepare now for power outages by making sure that they have battery-powered radios or televisions and supplies of extra batteries. If your house’s water supply is powered by an electric well pump, prepare by filling bathtubs and large containers with water for drinking and cooking.

Officials in Southampton and East Hampton towns are warning beachgoers of the likelihood of dangerous surf conditions on the ocean and the possibility of strong winds later this week.

“Although [the hurricane is] projected to stay offshore, in addition to heavy surf conditions it is very possible we could experience the effects of outer bands of winds toward the end of the week,” Lieutenant Robert P. Iberger, the emergency preparedness coordinator for the Southampton Town Police Department, said in a press release on Monday.

Lt. Iberger said that since Earl should not affect Long Island until the latter part of the week, residents should take the time now to secure household and yard items, boats, and other crafts. Families should also review their emergency plans, stock up on batteries and other supplies, and touch base with anyone they might want to stay with if Earl changes its path and makes land on the East End.

Bathers are cautioned to swim only at lifeguard-protected beaches during posted hours of operation and to pay heed to lifeguards and to warnings that might be posted at the beaches.

Earlier this week the East End’s shores saw milder-than-expected effects from Hurricane Danielle, which had degraded to a weak tropical storm by the time it passed several hundred miles southeast of Long Island on Monday. Forecasts had called for surf of 10 to 15 feet or more, but the waves never materialized.

Both towns have released their annual hurricane preparedness guides in recent months. Southampton Town’s Hurricane Survival Guide is available at Southampton Town Hall on Hampton Road as well as online at southamptontownny.gov.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy held a public information session on Monday with members of the county’s various emergency services to urge residents to begin preparing for the potential for a storm. The county offers emergency notifications by text message, e-mail and telephone for those enrolled in its notification program. Residents can visit coderedweb.com to sign up.

As of Wednesday morning Hurricane Earl was a Category 3 storm, with sustained winds of 125 mph, located just to the east of the Bahamas. Forecasters with the National Weather Service and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration have predicted that it will continue a northward track and move up the East Coast, between the Carolinas and Bermuda, potentially sweeping over the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Most computer models show that as the storm moves northward it will curve to the east to some degree, keeping it offshore and away from Long Island, but at least one projection by the U.S. Navy showed the storm crossing over the Outer Banks and then making landfall on eastern Long Island. Hurricane experts warned that storms can change course unexpectedly and tend to accelerate as they move northward.

Mr. Baxter, of NOAA, said that the storm’s track will be dictated by a low-pressure trough that is pushing eastward from the Midwest toward the East Coast. If the trough remains strong, fed by jetstream winds, it will fend Earl off the coast and push it out to sea. If the trough weakens, however, it could allow the storm to slide westward as it moves north, potentially enough to impact the coast.

“You shouldn’t really focus on the center of the track that we’re putting out, but more on the cone,” Mr. Baxter advised for those tracking the path of the storm over the next few days. “If you’re in the cone, you want to go over your hurricane plans and be ready, just in case.”

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wow when we had that storm in springs i used CW arborists true pros
By asurest (117), easthampton on Sep 1, 10 7:16 PM
Shame on you SH press for flashing such a misleading headline that will serve to hurt local business on the last weekend of summer. No model, even at 12:16 today when this was published showed LI getting hit. Your article then goes on to reference a comment about "uncertainty" in forecasts when hurricanes are 4-5 days out - yet we are only 48 hrs away and have better information!
You are distorting facts to scare people into reading at the expense of businesses that rely on this weekend to ...more
By edgwtr (8), Quogue on Sep 1, 10 8:54 PM
I believe the headline has said, throughout the day, that the projections are that the storm will "impact" the East End--and there's little argument about that. It's far too early to predict anything with certainty, of course, but it appears that the storm's course is likely to miss Long Island entirely (although the East End remains in the "cone of error," according to NOAA)--but even if it ends up 150 miles offshore, as expected, there are likely to be effects felt on the East End and along the ...more
By Joseph Shaw, Executive Editor (206), Hampton Bays on Sep 1, 10 9:08 PM
Edgewater - it say "impact". It's almost 100% certain it will impact the East End - people will not be out in their boats fishing in the ocean or swimming in the ocean this weekend that's a slam dunk.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Sep 1, 10 9:21 PM
Nature - If it is "almost 100% certain"there will be an impact as you state, why would a headline claim a "possibility"? The answer is to imply knowledge of an outlaying scenario or "models" that show a "possible" direct impact to the east end. This is entirely contrary to the truth and misleading at best.
By edgwtr (8), Quogue on Sep 1, 10 11:24 PM
Safety first. Better to be on alert and save lives than lose a little business.
By artizt101 (29), Hampton Bays on Sep 2, 10 3:04 PM
I respectfully disagree with you Joe - no one has doubted there will be some sort of effect from this storm - that I agree. Yet your headline implies a far stronger degree of severity than the current TROPICAL STORM WATCH issued by the NHC.
To the casual eye - and lets all agree that a headlines purpose is designed to attract the causal eye - the headline leads a reader to believe there are one or more "models" that show an "impact" to the EE. A simple thesaurus search for the word "impact" ...more
By edgwtr (8), Quogue on Sep 1, 10 11:05 PM
You are being far too literal. The word "impact" can mean "influence; effect". Would you rather have the headline read: "Hurricane may influence east end"? Come on. Yes, it may be a tropical storm when it reaches here, but it's currently a Hurricane and it's entirely accurate and truthful to state that a Hurricane may impact the East End. If the Hurricane (or Tropical Storm for that matter) were to actually HIT Long Island (which is what you are saying the headline makes readers believe) then ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Sep 2, 10 10:41 AM
He's right: "...but it's important for everyone to realize that a storm of any magnitude turning north has the potential to be a problem, and everyone should be prepared for the worst, just in case."
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Sep 1, 10 11:50 PM
Storm appears to be heading north at 75 degrees West Longitude (click on top left map and Caribbean Enhanced down on right):


Buoy 41001 150 NM E of Cape Hatteras shows increasing wave heights, wind, gusts, and decreasing pressure (click on chart image for each line down the page):


Interesting to watch this data in real time ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Sep 2, 10 11:19 AM
If you think that headline would keep a few city people away this weekend, than this is indeed a tragedy. A tragedy that it wasn't all in caps and significantly more dramatic. What a shame, just a few city people will now stay home.
By isthisguyserious? (15), hampton bays on Sep 2, 10 3:29 PM
But ,I thought we loved the city people....:}
By DJ9222 (85), southampton on Sep 2, 10 4:52 PM
Nantucket and Montauk buoys are starting to rock and roll?



Scroll down to line for Wave Height and click on chart icon on the left.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Sep 2, 10 4:52 PM
“Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst”
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Sep 2, 10 10:56 PM
why give such an alert a week before , it's very early ...no one is able to read a hurricane a week before ! be that cautious ...may be because it's a lot of rich rich people here so we care more but for katrina they never seen anything coming at anytime who cares of poor black people in new orleans ..not big deal!
By dlb (21), sag harbor on Sep 2, 10 11:55 PM