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Chief Read: ‘We might have dodged a bullet’

For the second day in a row, Shelter Island Town department managers, covering the Police, Fire, Highway and Building  departments, along with Emergency Medical Services, Senior Services,  and the Recreation Department, met Sunday morning to discuss plans for the storm that is bringing heavy rain and is expected to pick up power later this morning and afternoon.

But the mood was lighter Sunday than yesterday, with Hurricane Henri downgraded to a tropical storm, as the powerful weather system shifted to the east away from a direct hit on the Island.

“Hopefully, we might have dodged a bullet here,” said Police Chief Jim Read, the town’s emergency management coordinator.

There have been no requests for shelter, the chief reported, since those in need of shelter have been taken in by friends, family and neighbors. Sara Mundy, of the Town’s Senior Services, said the Senior Center is prepared if there’s  a need for people to shelter there. If more space is needed, the school will be a shelter.

Cliff Clark of South Ferry and Bridg Hunt of North Ferry said the boats are running but traffic is extremely light. Mr. Clark said there was little or no possibility that emergency vehicles wouldn’t be able to cross at any time.

A lone car boards the North Ferry in Greenport Sunday morning. The ferry was still operating, although few cars were traveling back and forth to Shelter Island. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

The Town’s Emergency declaration that called for a ban on traffic except for emergency vehicles from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, will be amended or rescinded, said Town Attorney Bob DeStefano. Jr.

High tide is expected at about noon today. Chief Read said a severe storm surge will not happen. But it’s possible, he added, that the surge could reach up to 3 or 4 feet at times. Ram Island could still be isolated because of causeway flooding, he added, with emergency vehicles having problems getting through.

Rain is the strongest concern, along with high winds, the chief said, with forceful downpours moving across the Island, bringing 4 to 6 inches over the next six hours, and there will be a problem with flooding, especially in vulnerable areas such as Silver Beach, Montclair and Bridge Street.

Sustained winds will be at 40 mph, the chief said, and gusts could reach 70 mph.

Highway Superintendent Brian Sherman said all town generators are ready, and crews will be out to clear roads of fallen trees and debris once Henri has passed.

For emergencies, call 911.

For PSEG outages, call 1-800-490-0075.

For general information, call 631-749-0400 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

For sheltering questions, call 631-749-0600.