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Panic Sets In For Some As Flood Waters Rise

Some South Jamesport areas are seeing flooding of up to three feet so far.

As flood waters rise rapidly up to over three feet in Riverhead, some residents who may not have already evacuated are panicking.

Riverhead Town Fire Department Chief Tony White said Hurricane Sandy has already started packing a fierce punch to residents.

"We've been very busy," White said Monday afternoon.

While no water rescues have been necessary so far, the Riverhead Fire Department is prepared, White said. "We have the boats ready but we're hoping not to have to use the. We tried to get everyone evacuated out of the low-lying areas."

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter said residents who find themselves in flooded areas, some with up to three feet of water on the street outside, should walk out to higher ground and get a ride to safety immediately.

"They should evacuate," Walter said. "They should have done it yesterday, or this morning."

Emergencies, Walter said, have been cropping up all over town as residents seek shelter from the worsening storm.

"They need to leave today, because tonight it's going to be a whole lot worse," Walter said. 

Evacuations have taken place in all the low-lying areas around Riverhead, White said, as well as at the River Woods mobile home park, former named MacLeod's, in Flanders, where many seniors had to leave their homes.

"Some people will say, 'I'm not going anywhere,'" White said. "Some of them are not going to do it, no matter what. I tell them that they'd be better off going to the shelter at Riverhead High School."

In some areas of town, including South Jamesport, residents are reporting water levels of up to two or three feet in the streets.

White said he's not surprised. "I can remember, and this is going back quite a few years, there was a structure fire on Front Street in  South Jamesport during a storm. We went down with the brush truck and when I went to open the door, the water was almost at the level of the door."

The worst flooding is expected to come Monday night at around midnight during high tide, White said.

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