By Andrew Wroblewski
Even as Hurricane Joaquin is now tracking east of Long Island, the Town of Huntington is preparing for the worst while certain areas along the North Shore were getting hit Friday by surging waves.
“It’s like a rodeo out there,” Dave Weber Jr., general manager of Seymour’s Boatyard in Northport, said in between trips out onto the water to check and change lines and store away as many boats as possible. Weber, who recorded video of two vessels stranded on the beach in Centerport, said that number has now risen to seven. He attributed it to strong winds affecting areas not protected by surrounding elevation. He said about 600 boats remain in Northport Harbor as of about 2 p.m. Friday.
“It really is nuts, this weather today is just out of control,” said Centerport Tracy Monteleone, who lost a paddleboat and kayak amid surging waves at a private Centerport beach on Gina Drive. Monteleone, dressed in a yellow raincoat and hip waders and drenched from the rain, said she would likely do another search for the paddleboat and kayak despite the weather.
The National Weather Service predicts Joaquin will sweep east of Long Island, but over the next few days the region will be experience winds of around 30 mph.
“The bottom line is this thing has changed three times in two days and we still have three days to go,” Huntington Highway Superintendent Pete Gunther said.
Gunter said the is town has partnered with PSEG Long Island to coordinate response calls of downed trees, which have plagued Huntington during recent storms. The partnership aims to eliminate instances in which representatives from either of the two sides arrive to a scene, but are unable to operate due because of the absence of the other.
Gunther added that the township will be divided into four quadrants to optimize the resources of the town’s highway department and general services.
He said Huntington is also keeping outside contractors on standby to assist with emergencies and achieve the highway department’s goal, “K.R.O. – keep the roads open.”
Guther added that residents should gas up their vehicles, never touch downed wires, try to stay indoors and avoid potential flooding on the North Shore.
With Chris Mellides and Carl Corry