21 Aug 2014
67° Partly Cloudy
Patch Instagram photo by heatherrglass

'World Series' of Hurricanes Puts TOBAY on Alert

Town officials to pull all nighter during Hurricane Sandy.

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"This for me is like the Yankees are playing in the World Series," said Len Symons, excitedly perusing the live Doppler radar screen at the TOBAY Department of Public Works office.

Much like the World Series, Symons bounced from excitement to worry as he considered the historic and potentially devastating consequences of Hurricane Sandy as it began to consume the East Coast.

Click here for the Hurricane Sandy topics page to see all the stories and updates we've published.

"We're going to be in the soup for a long time," he said. "It's going to be a storm of long duration and with significant impacts from storm surges."

Symons, a former TOBAY councilman, trained with the National Hurricane Center and has been updating the entire center on Sandy's whereabouts.

"These graphs here show the wind speed slowly but surely ramping up, wind speed rising, and the barometer dropping," he said, flipping from radar chart to line graph.

"All this is bad," he said simply.

"We're going to prepare for the worst and hope for the best," said DPW Commissioner Justin McCaffrey, who arrived at the emergency center at 6 a.m. Monday with no intention of leaving at the end of business.

"The danger is certainly not over. It's after the storm that we will really see some action," he said. When sustained winds die down to below 50 miles per hour, crews will again be permitted to aid residents with the aftermath. Downed power lines, toppled trees, and floods will be a lingering effect of Sandy that DPW will be handling for days.

Though the aftermath is where the DPW will really shine, TOBAY put all hands on deck to get people to safety.

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"There was a resident this afternoon carrying belongings through a flooded area and the Town person who was driving by picked him up and got him to safety," said Supervisor John Venditto. "Now we've had all hands on deck dispatching personnel to different evacuation areas and we picked up ten others within a few hours."

Once the storm had reached TOBAY's doorstep, Venditto's message was simple:

"If you stay focused, you follow the rules that have been laid out for you, and you stay in contact with us either through the Town website or your local media, you will be fine. You will not have a problem. You will be okay."

"We haven't taken our eye off the ball yet," said McCaffrey. "The worst is yet to come. We can get through this, but we've still got a lot ahead of us."

The Town's emergency center can be reached at (516) 677-5757 at any time. McCaffrey said that the center can dispatch anyone from crews to help clear trees to fire and police emergency responders.

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