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Evacuation Order For Fire Island; Long Island Preps For Worst

FIRE ISLAND, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A mandatory evacuation order has been issued for Fire Island, as Suffolk County has declared a state of emergency.

Everyone has until 2 p.m. Sunday to evacuate from Fire Island, CBS 2 reported.

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Fire Island is primarily a summer resort area with few permanent residents.

No evacuation orders have been issued for the rest of Suffolk County, but County Executive Steve Bellone said he will wait and see.

WCBS 880's Sophia Hall reports


"We are not ruling anything out at this point," Bellone said. "But we are advising people who are in low-lying areas that people should be thinking about what they want to do and taking precautions."

Bellone said anyone living in a low-lying area prone to flooding may want to stay with relatives or friends until the storm passes. He said the county is working with other agencies, including the Long Island Power Authority, to be prepared for the storm.

Meanwhile, as CBS 2's Jessica Schneider reported, Long Islanders who remember the effects of Hurricane Irene were not taking any chances this time. In fact, many residents of Long Beach Island told WCBS 880's Sophia Hall they were more worried about Sandy than they were about Irene.

WCBS 880's Sophia Hall reports


One resident was already packing up and leaving Saturday morning.

"I'm going to be staying, I have two cats, so it's a pet-friendly hotel in Bethpage, and I just have a gut feeling that says it's going to be bad," she said.

The hotel will cost $100 to $150 per night, but the precaution is worth it, she said.

"Believe me, we don't have a lot of money," she said. "But we're doing it."

And before the sun even came up, people were at the police department picking up sand bags. One resident said he did not know if it would help protect his home.

"Well last time it flooded. I thought I had the garage closed off. But it came through the crawl, and up over into the garage," he said.

In Dix Hill, many people seemed to make a bee line to the water aisle at the Stop and Shop shore. One man said he bought a lot of extras, just in case.

WCBS 880's Sophia Hall reports


"Water, pasta, vegetables, basic stuff," he said.

Store assistant manager Willa Kagan said it was not a normal Saturday.

"It's almost like Christmas," she said. "The only thing different is we are selling a lot more water than food."

But some people just did their normal shopping for the week.

"We're prepared, so we have water and supplies and stuff," another man said.

Meanwhile, the people along the waterfront in Freeport learned their lesson after Irene. With the floodwaters up to people's waists, and stores flooded out, shop owners have to worry again.

"There's a couple of places that just finished rebuilding again, and now they're just like, 'I don't know what to do,'" said marina owner Mike Dermier. "These guys, jewelry stores and everything, they have to empty everything out."

At a nearby Home Depot, it was a flurry of activity.

"We've got a water vac, batteries, we've got lights," said Frank Haggerty of Long Beach.

Haggerty missed out on the first shipment of generators, but just before the store closed, another 60 came in – sparking a rush of people who did not want to be left in the dark.

"Last storm we were stuck in the dark for four days," said Cindy Dempsey of Merrick. "I want electric."

All across Long Island, sandbags were lined up. Eight-foot ocean sand berms were up along Nassau's South Shore, and in Suffolk County, the town of Babylon had its bucket trucks and payloaders ready to haul away downed trees.

"We are getting ready, as always," said Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano. "We are preparing for the worst. We will hope for the best. But rest assured, we have many dedicated emergency management professionals working to secure our county and your public safety."

Residents were concerned, but still laughing.

"I am concerned about it," said Walter Bedmarczyk of Great Neck. "I went to Costco and bought a lot of cold cuts and chicken, and I also went to confession just in case things get real bad," he laughed.

The Office of Emergency Management said Saturday that everyone should make plans now.

The will make the call if there are more emergency evacuations Sunday, and they will announce shelter locations then if necessary.

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