On the tip of a barrier island that runs along the south shore of the Hamptons, restaurant staff piled outdoor tables and chairs in the basement on Saturdays as sport fishing boats and yachts were pulled from the soon-rising waters.
Christine Oakland-Hill, the owner of Oakland’s Restaurant & Marina, was among those preparing for the worst as Hurricane Henri approached the Hamptons, the luxury vacation destination on the east side of Long Island. “It’s quite emotional — this is our livelihood,” she said.
When Hurricanes Sandy and Irene swept across the area about ten years ago, the road to the restaurant was impassable for days. That made Ms. Oakland-Hill concerned about losing business in the peak season as Labor Day approaches.
“This is it a bit. We have 10 weeks to make it,” she said.
After watching Henri’s path shift for days, the Hamptons have emerged as a likely recipient of the storm’s strongest blow when it makes landfall this Sunday.
“The Hamptons may well be the bullseye in terms of Henri’s worst,” said Dominic Ramunni, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, who added that the area could be haunted by five-foot storm surge and winds of up to 80. miles per hour.
Southampton planned to issue a voluntary evacuation order for about 6,000 people Saturday afternoon, according to city supervisor Jay Schneiderman, who expected other towns in the Hamptons to follow suit. “We don’t get that many hurricanes,” he said.
Another 500 people were under a voluntary evacuation warning in the town of East Hampton.
Mr Ramunni said he hoped people on the vulnerable peninsula – especially the many visitors to the area – would heed the warnings. “There are a lot of new people on the island who may not be as prepared or used to this kind of weather,” he said.
City officials feared prolonged power outages would cripple businesses still reeling from Covid-19 closures.
“It would likely lead to an exodus of those who have other options to move back to their other homes or elsewhere,” said East Hampton supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc, adding that westbound traffic was already hitting the city on Saturday afternoon. increased. “Any hiatus from the peak tourist season is likely to be felt by business.”