By Barbara Donlon
With hurricane season in full swing, the likelihood of Long Island getting hit with a hurricane is pretty high. As it turns out, many people are unaware of when hurricane season is. Atlantic Hurricane season begins June 1 and is set to last until Nov. 30. According to Weather.com, September is the month when the Atlantic is most likely to see a hurricane form. With all the hype that stemmed from Hurricane Earl, it opened up the eyes of many Long Islanders and even people here at Suffolk Community college.
According to Scott Mandia, a meteorologist for 23 years, and a professor here at Suffolk Community college, Long Island has a “28% probability that Region 10 which includes NY City/Long Island will be hit with a tropical storm or hurricane in 2010.” Usually the normal value for Long Island/NY City is “15 %,” so that leaves us with a 13% increase of a hurricane.
With the risk significantly higher and the close encounter with Hurricane Earl that leaves many people here at Suffolk worried. “I was worried about Hurricane Earl because they told us we were going to die,” said Nicole Brems, 19, a student in her second year at Suffolk. While it was obvious Brems was fully aware of the storm, it came as a shock to many students. Out of roughly 10 students asked, only 3 of them were aware it was hurricane season, the rest had no idea, nor did they want to have any idea.
Mandia went on to add via United States Landfalling Hurricane Probability Project that, there is a “99.9% probability that NY City/Long Island will be hit with a tropical
storm or hurricane in the next 50 years. [A] 99.4% probability that NY City/Long Island will be hit with a hurricane in the next 50 years [and a ] 90% probability that NY City/Long Island will be hit with a major hurricane (category 3 or more) in the next 50 years. In his professional opinion, Mandia said if Long Island were to get hit, it would “most likely be a category 1 because they are the most common overall.”
On a brighter note, if Suffolk were to get hit with a hurricane, the college itself would be in good standing condition. Mandia mentioned that the college is actually a “designated shelter,” if we were to get hit with a hurricane. Also, the buildings would withstand the high winds a hurricane produces. “The buildings here will do fine because they are very sturdy and would not get hit with the ocean storm surge. The surge is what causes the
most damage to buildings. There will be some light wind damage but nothing that would be devastating,” said Mandia.
“Truthfully, I know this sounds awful, but I had no idea it was hurricane season. I knew about hurricane Earl possibly hitting us, but not for nothing the college never really announced it or made it a big deal about it. Luckily enough, it misses us and we were good,” said Lexi Durham, 18, a student attending her first year at Suffolk Community College. Oddly enough, Durham doesn’t stand alone with being unaware to hurricane season.
While it seems that Suffolk Community College would do well during a hurricane, the American Red Cross has set up a very important list of what you need to make a Family Emergency Kit. They recommend, Water (at least one gallon per person per day,) Non perishable food items, first aid kits, medications, battery-powered flashlights and radios, clothing, personal items, and important family documents. In addition to the family emergency kit, the American Red Cross also recommends making a disaster response plan. They recommend you always plan ahead, know that phones and email may not work, make sure all you loved ones know your contact numbers, and practice a communication plan often. You can never be to prepared for a natural disaster.
If Long Island does get hit with a hurricane this season, or even in upcoming seasons, remember Suffolk County Community College campuses are used as shelters so visit them if needed. Keep informed with television, News 12 (channel 12,) TV 12 TW(channel 61) TWC (channel 62.) If television is out the following radio stations will keep you informed; WALK (97.5 FM,) WBAB (102.3 FM,) WBAZ (102.5 FM,) WRCN (103.9 FM) WLNG (92.1FM.) The Suffolk County Red Cross is reachable at http://www.SuffolkCounty.redcross.org By phone call: 1-877-PREP-4-LI OR 1-877-773-7454.