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Update: Hurricane Joaquin is tracking out to sea

hurricane

Friday: Hurricane Joaquin, which remains a Category 3 hurricane packing up to 130 mph winds, is heading out to sea, according to the National Hurricane Center.

That mean the storm will spare Long Island.

The National Weather service is now reporting breezy weather and a chance of light showers both on Sunday and Monday.

However, a hazardous weather outlook remains in effect, with a coastal flooding advisory running until 3 p.m. Friday and a high surf advisory until 6 p.m. Sunday.

Rain is expected all day today, Friday.

Thursday: One thing is certain, Long Island is in for some weather, with a first storm approaching the area Friday and lingering into early Sunday, followed by a hurricane that’s now churning up the Caribbean.

Just how bad the wind, rain and flooding will be over the next several days is anyone’s guess. Exactly how Hurricane Joaquin will track through the Atlantic Ocean is still very much in doubt.

The effects of the hurricane are expected to be felt in the area early Sunday into Monday, officials said.

County Executive Steve Bellone said Suffolk will be prepared for anything, including the worst, and warned residents on the South Shore and on Fire Island to keep a close watch on the storm.

He suggested residents enroll in the county’s Code Red emergency notification service. CLICK HERE

According to the National Hurricane Center, the eye of the hurricane had just passed over Samana Cays in the Bahamas at about 11 a.m. Thursday as a Category 3 storm packing up to 125 mph winds.

“The prospect of a hurricane in this region three years after Superstorm Sandy is obviously a scary one, for many people, those who have suffered devastating impacts from that storm and some who are still working to recover. But we want people to know we’re leaving nothing to chance.

“And of course, praying this ends up being nothing more than a major practice drill for our region.”

Bellone said he’s been in contact today with government leaders at all levels, and emphasized that communications capabilities for residents and between emergency officials have improved much since Sandy stuck the island in 2012.

He also said high-water vehicles such as humvees since acquired by the Suffolk County Police Department will be a big help during any serious weather emergency moving forward.

The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook, a high surf advisory and a coastal flooding advisory.

NWS is reporting the hurricane is forecast to track off the mid-Atlantic over the next five days.

“We do know we’re in for some inclement weather, that is what we know for sure,” he said. “The track at this point has Suffolk County in its path, potentially, but things are very much uncertain. This is not something to be panicking about, but it’s important to prepare.”

He said residents and property on Fire Island are always a constant worry during storms and he’s been in touch with government leaders at the barrier beaches.

“There are some real concerns there,” he said. “We’ve talked about the potential for flooding, and if there’s any preparations we can do in advance to mitigate any damage. And, in the worst case scenario, where we would be staging mobile commands.”

“There have been discussions about preparing for [evacuations] if necessary,” he added.

Lows are expected to remain in the 50s with highs in the 60s through Monday.

mike@greaterpatchogue.com

About the author: Michael White

Michael White is a Bellport resident, longtime newspaper reporter and editor, and the owner of greaterpatchogue.com. Email him your story ideas or tips: mike@greaterpatchogue.com