In Nassau County, we are making concerted efforts to ensure the safety and well being of you and your family in many different ways. As part of this effort, I am pleased to provide Nassau residents with this Hurricane Readiness brochure on how you and your loved ones may prepare for hurricanes. While the County does have hurricane preparedness plans, it is vital that each resident is educated on how to be prepared for and what to do should a hurricane strike. This guide will help get you started. Together, we can make Nassau County more prepared and a safer place to live.
As Long Islanders, many of us may not feel threatened by hurricanes considering we survived Gloria, Floyd and others. However, given our location as an island left vulnerable to the Atlantic Ocean, Nassau County is very susceptible to the powerful and destructive nature of hurricanes.
Long Island has been threatened by, and at times hit with, hurricanes. And while it is estimated that 80-90% of people living in hurricane prone areas think they have experienced the worst of a major hurricane, most likely they have not. This can give people a false sense of what a major hurricane actually is or the potential damage it can cause. This is why it is important for residents to understand what a hurricane is, how hurricanes can affect our lives, and ways to better prepare in the event one strikes our area.
According to the National Hurricane Center, the term “hurricane” refers to tropical cyclones occurring in the Northern Hemisphere (“typhoon” refers to tropical cyclones in the Pacific). A hurricane is described as a powerful coastal storm with sustained winds above 74 mph and is defined by its immense size, duration, and destruction. Hurricane season is from June to November.
When there is an impending hurricane, the National Weather Service (NWS) will monitor the potential storm and keep local emergency managers updated. When necessary, the NWS may issue either a hurricane watch or a hurricane warning:
Hurricanes have many after-effects including severe destruction and can cause additional hazards including:
The level and intensity of Hurricanes are categorized by the Saffir-Simpson scale and are as follows:
|Category||Sustained Winds||Types of Damage Due to Hurricane Winds|
|1||74-95 mph||Very dangerous winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days. Flooding on coastal roads.|
|2||96-110 mph||Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage: Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.|
|111-129 mph||Devastating damage will occur: Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes. Evacuation of low lying residences within several blocks of the shoreline possibly required.|
|130-156 mph||Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Evacuation of residential areas will be necessary. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.|
|157 mph or higher||Catastrophic damage will occur: A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Mass evacuation of residential areas will be necessary. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.|
The New England Hurricane (also known as the Long Island Express) hit Long Island on September 21, 1938 as a Category 3 (winds 111-129 mph) and devastated the coast of Long Island with storm surges of 10 to 12 feet and was responsible for, in total, 700 deaths, $308 million in damage, and 63,000 people homeless between Long Island and New England. The LI Express was so powerful that it created the Shinnecock Inlet and widened the Moriches Inlet in Suffolk County.
The Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944 was a Category 3 (winds 111-129mph)
Hurricanes Carol and Edna of 1954 were both Category 3 hurricanes when they hit Long Island and Connecticut.
Hurricane Donna of 1960 started as a Category 4 and hit Nassau County as a Category 3 (winds 111-129mph).
Hurricane Gloria of 1985 began as a Category 3 hurricane when it hit Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, but was considered a Category 1 (winds 74-95 mph) when it reached Nassau County. Gloria devastated the U.S., including serious damage to Nassau County.
Although we cannot prevent hurricanes, we can certainly prepare for them. If you are prepared with food (items that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water) and water (1 gal. of water per person per day for at least 5 days), an emergency can be an inconvenience, not a disaster.
Everyone has a personal responsibility to be prepared. Creating an emergency plan ahead of time for you and your family will help you stay organized if a hurricane strikes. Your emergency plan should include a communication system, disaster supply kit, and an alternate meeting place if your home is unsafe. Depending on the severity of the hurricane, you may need to evacuate where you live. When instructions are given to evacuate, you will be directed to a temporary, emergency refuge that will provide a safe haven for the duration of the storm. However, it is recommended that you seek refuge with a friend or family member located away from the affected area. You’ll be more comfortable on a friend’s couch than on a cot in a shelter.
What you have on hand when a hurricane hits can make a big difference to how well your family handles it. In the event of a hurricane WATCH or WARNING, put these items into a smaller, portable Go-Kit—such as a hands-free backpack or duffel bag— or a container, in case you need to evacuate. Keep it by your front door or an exit in case of an emergency evacuation. Each person should have a Go-Kit. Create your own disaster preparedness kits—one for home and one to go as a “Go Bag” in case you need to evacuate—with enough supplies for everyone in your household for FIVE (5) days.
Your family disaster preparedness kits should include:
For more information, visit the Nassau County Pet Safe Coalition website petsafecoalition.org
A common concern from residents in the County is “How will I know when I need to evacuate?” To answer that question, Nassau County has installed an Emergency Notification System that will allow the County to call the home phones of residents in an effected area within a very short time. The county will be able to call any landline telephone within a given area and send a recorded message with instructions. The system will be able to make 3,000 phone calls per minute. Working in conjunction with the State’s NY ALERT program, Nassau County also has the ability to get the same message to all cell phones in the same area. It is important that if you have caller ID and see a call from “Nassau County” that you answer the call to get timely information.
Pets are not allowed in shelters. Be sure to make sheltering plans for your pet(s). If you cannot make necessary provisions for your pet, you may want to contact the Pet Safe Coalition Inc. to learn about its “PetSafe” shelter program by visiting petsafecoalition.org. You may also contact the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management at 516.573.0636 for guidance. Service animals are allowed in Nassau County shelters. If you bring your service animal with you, have water, food, medicines, toys and other necessities.
If you have any special needs, be sure to take them into consideration when developing your emergency plan for hurricanes. For more information, contact Nassau County Office of Emergency Management and request the brochure on Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities.
Every workplace and school should have an evacuation plan and emergency procedures. Become familiar with evacuation plans in areas where you spend a great deal of time. You may want to store a few essential items at these locations as well.
Adelphi University Emergency Response Plan can be viewed at administration.adelphi.edu/publicsafety
Remember: 911 Calls Are For Emergency Situations Only
TTY Relay Operator
Nassau County Office of Emergency Management
Nassau County Office of Emergency Management email
Nassau County Main Number
Nassau County American Red Cross
Nassau County Police
Town of North Hempstead
Town of Hempstead
Town of Oyster Bay
City of Glen Cove
Glen Cove Police Department
City of Long Beach
City of Long Beach Police Department
|National Weather Service||National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration