Closings Multiply as Irene Nears East Coast
The following are highlights of media announcements today concerning Hurricane Irene as its U.S. landfall this weekend draws near.
More than 300,000 people were told today to evacuate and New York ordered buses, planes and its entire subway system shut down as Hurricane Irene marched up the East Coast, The Associated Press reported.
It was the first time part of the nation's largest city was evacuated. And never before has the entire mass transit system been shuttered because of a storm. Despite not knowing how the city would react, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he was confident people would get out of the storm's way.
"Waiting until the last minute is not a smart thing to do," Bloomberg said. "This is life-threatening."
Irene was expected to make landfall in North Carolina on Saturday, then roll along the East Coast before hitting near Manhattan on Sunday.
On Long Island, Greenport Village, in line with Southold Town, has announced a state of emergency effective 7 p.m. Saturday. It will remain in effect until further notice, The Suffolk Times reported
The Mitchell Park Marina and McCann Campground have been closed. All boats in port were asked to leave for safer waters and those due in for the weekend were contacted Thursday and told to sail elsewhere.
KOA Kampgrounds off Route 48 in Greenport plans to weather the storm.
“We’re going to ride it out,” said an office worker who declined to be named. Most of the campsites are filled with large motor homes or trailers.
The state's Department of Environmental Management stated that most state campgrounds will be closed at 3 p.m. Saturday. There will be a mandatory evacuation at 3 p.m. Saturday. However, due to local evacuation plans in Charlestown, Charlestown Breachway and East Beach Campgrounds will be closed at 12 p.m. Saturday. Campers should make plans to leave all the campgrounds until the storm event is over and the area is deemed safe to return.
Campground staff at each state facility is advising campers that they must leave the campground until the storm passes. Campers in need of temporary shelter should check with the facility manager at the campground for options regarding temporary camping accommodations at other locations.
Campers will be allowed back in the campgrounds after a check of facilities determines they are approved for safety concerns.
ReserveAmerica provided notice to all campers due to check in from today through Sunday of the impending storm and the expected closure of the campgrounds. The same system will advise campground patrons of when the facilities will reopen. DEM is facilitating refunds for those impacted by the evacuation order.
Acadia National Park on the Maine coast is closing both of its campgrounds Sunday morning as the state braces for Hurricane Irene, the Maine Public Broadcasting Network reported.
Ranger Wanda Moran says the two campgrounds, which each have 500 campsites, have been full for the last two weeks. Any campers still there Sunday morning will be sent packing, she says.
Moran says the Duck Harbor campground on Isle Au Haut is also being shut down on Saturday morning, and Sunday boat cruises with rangers on board have all been canceled.
Moran says officials haven't made a decision yet on whether to shut down access to the entire national park. She says if it remains open, travelers can expect to encounter some closed roads due to flooding expected from the extremely high tide forecast for Sunday morning.
Elsewhere in Maine, the Kennebec Journal reported, all coastal Maine state parks and several inland parks will be closed for day use on Sunday in anticipation of Hurricane Irene's arrival in the state, officials announced today.
Campers at state park campgrounds throughout Maine also are being warned by park staff of the approach of the hurricane, which is expected to bring high winds and gusts of up to 70 mph and an anticipated 2-foot storm surge.
Maine Department of Conservation officials warn Maine residents and visitors to stay away from coastal areas for their own safety and to take precautions for themselves and their families.
The storm will bring an unusually high tide of 11 feet, accompanied by a storm surge of 2 feet, plus high winds and rogue waves that could do extensive damage to vulnerable sections of Maine's coast, according to Stephen Dickson, a marine geologist with the Maine Geological Survey.
Irene is predicted to make landfall on North Carolina's Outer Banks this weekend and head up the East Coast, eventually reaching Maine by early Monday.