23 Aug 2014
70° Mostly Cloudy

Locals Prepare for Hurricane Irene By Land and Sea

Boat owners pulled their vessels from the harbor Friday morning and concerned residents flocked to the nearest hardware stores for supplies.

Locals Prepare for Hurricane Irene By Land and Sea Locals Prepare for Hurricane Irene By Land and Sea Locals Prepare for Hurricane Irene By Land and Sea Locals Prepare for Hurricane Irene By Land and Sea Locals Prepare for Hurricane Irene By Land and Sea

At the onset of any kind of danger, what really comes into play are people and how the impending crisis will affect them.

With Hurricane Irene expected to pass through our area Sunday at Category 1 strength, many boat owners in the Sound Shore area are pulling their ships from the waters.

Wayne Mueller has had boats at both Harbor Island in Mamaroneck and in New Rochelle since he was 14-years old. He also has one docked at .

“We’re hauling out both our boats,” said Mueller. “I’m worried more, not from the wind as much, but more about the storm surge.”

Mueller said recent storms have left him unphased, however, the warnings for Hurricane Irene have caused new concern.

“This one looks a little more worrisome than we’ve seen in the past,” he said.

Mueller has stocked up for just such emergencies by keeping up to six cases of water stored in his garage, along with batteries, lights and even a small generator.

Before 10 a.m. Friday, John Ferrante, captain of the Aquavit, could be seen pulling a medium-sized boat out of the harbor.

When asked about the precautions boat owners all over the Sound are taking, he offered some helpful advice.

“Basically, with smaller boats, just take them out of the water and larger boats that are out in the open, you want to get them to a more secure area,” he said.

And for Mamaroneck Harbor Master Joseph Russo—who has met with village officials regarding the onset of Irene—the preparations being made at couldn’t be more well-timed.

“What we’re doing right now is we have extra anchors set to hold some of the docks in place and we’ve changed some of the chains around the pilings to secure the docks,” he said.

Russo has been encouraging boat owners to check on their barges’ batteries, pumps and making sure residents have added extra lines and have all the necessary bumpers out. He also advised boat owners to take down any loose canvas that can be torn off during high winds.

When asked what flooding typically looks like at Harbor Island, Russo said that, with Irene, it really depends on what time she decides to strike.

“We have a moon-tide which is usually a foot-and-a-half above regular tide; if [Irene] hits after 12 o’clock (midnight) on Saturday into Sunday, it’s better for us,” he said.

Meanwhile, back on dry land, ominous media reports have locals scurrying out to hardware stores like Brewer’s on Boston Post Road and in Larchmont.

Linda Lieberman, who has only been a resident of White Plains for the last two weeks, paid Brewer’s a visit Friday morning and spoke about getting ready for Irene.  

“We have a new townhouse and we don’t have a grill; I bought a charcoal grill so we have a method of cooking if the electricity goes out,” she said.

Lieberman also stopped by her local grocery store yesterday to pick up canned foods and has been filling up containers with drinking water.

When asked whether the media reports left her alarmed, Lieberman said, “I just have memories of other storms; we’re in a new place and I generally believe in being prepared.”

In Larchmont, where Mayor Josh Mandell just declared a state of emergency this afternoon, locals have been stocking up for the last few days.

For John Merrell, owner of Foley’s Hardware in Larchmont this state of alarm has been a constant for the last three days. According to him, people are stocking up on batteries, lanterns, flashlights and candles.

“I think it’s going to be a pretty bad storm, so I’m not too surprised everyone’s buying provisions,” Merrell said.

So for now, locals remain vigilant, families huddle together and everyone, seeming to share in the same sense of danger, has been brought closer together.

“I hope it’s not as bad as they say,” said Merrell, “but you’ve got to prepare for the worst.”

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