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‘We’re prepared for whatever it is’: NY on alert for Hurricanes Jose and Maria


ROBERT MOSES STATE PARK, Long Island — Overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday, Hurricane Jose will have a strong effect on the New York metro area.

It will bring strong winds, some coastal flooding and rainfall.  However, the storm, which will never get closer than 175 miles from the New York shoreline, is relatively mild compared to its fraternal twin Atlantic Ocean hurricane, Maria.  With winds measuring 175 miles an hour, Maria is packing a hazardous punch as she heads toward the already devastated Virgin Islands and to Puerto Rico.

People from the Tri State will be affected by both storms, either directly or indirectly.  Here at home, the Long Island Welcome Center rest area in Dix Hills has been shut down and converted into an emergency vehicle staging area.

“We are prepared for whatever it is or for whatever it isn’t,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said about Hurricane Jose at a news conference at the welcome center turned emergency staging area.

It was full of heavy equipment, including fleets of military transport trucks, dump trucks,  plows, rescue boats and Humvees.  Dozens of state troopers and members of the New York National Guard were also deployed there by order of the governor and the county executives of Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

The deployment will last until Hurricane Maria dissipates, Gov. Cuomo said.  That’s not expected to happen until next weekend.  It is not yet clear what effect her presence along with that of Jose will have in our area.

“Our M.O. has been to prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” Gov. Cuomo said.

Serious preparations are underway in Puerto Rico right now as Maria approaches.  Her eye wall is on track to pass over northeastern Puerto Rico on Wednesday.

“We’re already getting winds, and the rain is starting,” said Alejandro Torres from the hills above San Juan.

Torres lives in New York but is in San Juan visiting his family.  They celebrated a wedding between Irma and Maria, but now it’s a serious affair as they prepare for Maria’s wrath.

“Now, all construction in Puerto Rico is concrete,” said Teofilo Torres, Alejandro’s father, via Face Time with PIX11 News.

His biggest concern is electricity lines. Torres is also nervous about the island’s lush tree canopy being blown away, similar to what happened on St. John and St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands during Irma.

The Torres family owns a farm in the hills near San Juan. They’ve seen the damage Irma left in her wake on neighboring islands, but they’re hopeful that their island home won’t meet the same fate.

“For the most part, everyone has good shelter,” said Alejandro Torres.  “We’re lucky knowing everyone’s as safe as can be.”

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