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LONG BEACH, NY (CBSNewYork) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo called up military assistance as residents in coastal areas of Long Island evacuate their homes Saturday, and according to Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, the troops are lending their efforts for emergencies.
“It is my hope that residents in the mandatory evacuation zones have left these low-lying areas by now. For those who stay behind, we have deployed National Guard high axle vehicles and personnel for emergency purposes,” Mangano said.
“The National Guard is coordinating efforts and operations with our Nassau County Police Department now,” he added.
“The National Guard, we believe, are going to serve a vital role in this situation,” Cuomo said Saturday afternoon.
“The initial plan was for 1,000 National Guard to be called up. After briefings today, I will be doubling that number to 2,000,” he said.
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano ordered mandatory evacuations of 300,000 people from areas most closely to be impacted by Hurricane Irene.
Governor Cuomo agrees with residents choosing safety.
“New Yorkers, we like to think that we’re tough and we can handle anything. We are tough, but we’re also smart. And we’re smart enough to know that we don’t mess with Mother Nature. And we are prepared for the storm. We’ll be prepared for the aftermath, but during the course of the storm, New Yorkers should either evacuate or stay indoors,” Cuomo said.
LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports
Those most directly impacted include residents who live south of Sunrise Highway between the Queens line and Rockville Center, south of Merrick Road from Rockville center to the Suffolk County border and low-lying and storm surge areas on the north shore, including the Port Washington peninsula, East Island and parts Glen Cove, Bayville, Oyster Bay and Oyster Bay Cove.
Residents along the barrier islands were being urged to evacuate voluntarily. The barrier islands include Long Beach, Lido Beach, Atlantic Beach and Point Lookout.
Hempstead town supervisor Kate Murray said falling trees is a big concern.
“We anticipate a good number of trees coming down and of course that will implicate our electric usage and abilities as well,” she said.
It’s been non-stop business at a Mobil station in Long Beach as folks are gassing up their cars, grabbing bottled water and getting out-of-town.
LISTEN: WCBS 880′s Sophia Hall reports
Closer to the beach, you could see where folks are doing anything to protect their homes, including putting towels under their doors and boarding their windows.
One woman said she is just scared she is going to lose her house.
“I put everything away and tape on the windows,” she said. “I live near the beach so I am really nervous.”
Three public shelters were initially opened at Nassau Community College, SUNY Farmingdale, and Locust Valley High School. A specialty shelter for residents with pets has been opened at Mitchell Park’s Field in Uniondale. Another 17 shelters opened by 7 p.m., Mangano said.
Other Nassau County shelters include: North Shore High School in Glen Head, New Hyde Park High School, Plainview Middle School, Farmingdale High School, SUNY Old Westbury, Westbury High School, Gerald Claps Career and Tech Center in Levittown, Garden City High School, Glen Cove High School, Great Neck North High School, Manhasset High School, Paul Schreiber High School in Port Washington, Mineola High School, Hicksville High School, McKenna Elementary School in Massapequa Park, John F. Kennedy High School in Plainview, Sewanhaka High School in Floral Park, South High School in Great Neck, Division High School in Levittown and Weldon Howitt Middle School in Farmingdale.
In Suffolk County, Executive Steve Levy has ordered mandatory evacuations for barrier beach communities on western Fire Island.
“On Fire Island, it is a mandatory evacuation,” said Assistant Chief of Ocean Beach Fire Department Ian Levine. “The last boat leaving the village of Ocean Beach is going to be at 4:40 [Saturday] afternoon. Once that boat is gone, we’re going to closing down all services on Ocean Beach and Fire Island.”
Only homeowners will be allowed to use ferry service in order to secure their homes and properties. Ferry service will likely end sometime Saturday afternoon.
Levine said power is also going to be cut off from Fire Island starting at 6 p.m. Saturday and says at that time, there will be no 911 emergency response on the island.
Others areas of Suffolk County are also on the evacuation list, including all residents on Barrier Beaches and Southampton.
To see if you’re on the Suffolk County evacuation list, click here.
Suffolk County ha
s also set up a number of shelters ahead of the storm. To see a full list shelters and their locations, click here.
On Shelter Island, there’s no talk of evacuation. People have learned to take big storms in their stride and because you can only get there by boat, it takes a lot to stop the ferries.
LISTEN: WCBS 880′s Irene Cornell reports
Bridge Hunt is in charge of running the north ferry that runs between Green Port of Shelter Island.
“The only thing that really stops us is a high tide event or an extreme wind event and when the tide comes in on a storm surge, it can make the ramp so steep that we’re no longer able to board the cars on the ferry,” said Hunt. “Our new boats are larger and more sea worthy so we’re less susceptible to wind events. However, a very strong breeze will make it difficult to leave our green port terminal.”
The last big hurricane to hit Shelter Island was Hurricane Bob 20 years ago. It left 50 foot sailboats piled up on the beach at Deering Harbor.
All residents are being urged to have their emergency “Go” kits. Residents in coastal communities are being urged to fill up their gas tanks, have a three-day supply of canned food, bottled water, a flashlight, a manual can opener, a battery-operated radio and a first aid kit.