Hurricane Irene: Long Island beach-area residents refuse to leave
Nick Dionisio and his friends were sitting in his garage on Saturday evening watching the last of their neighbors leave.
"I though he was going to stick it out," Dionisio said as one car drove past.
"Anyone smart would leave," his friend Jesse Olivero shot back.
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Dionisio lives a block from the beach in South Freeport, on Long Island, where the eye of Irene is predicted to hit at some point Saturday night or early Sunday morning.
Everyone in the neighborhood was ordered to evacuate by 5 p.m., but Dionisio and his group decided to stick it out. All of them work on the water and own boats.
"There's too much to leave behind," said Matt Ceridge, 19, who lives a few blocks away.
"You gotta watch your stuff," said Dionisio, 23. "I got not other choice."
One of Denisio's boats is behind his house in a canal that runs up from the ocean. Another sits on stilts in his front yard. For an escape, he's got an inflatable raft in his garage. Olivero has a kayak at his house ready to go.
The hurricane winds are one concern, but Dionisio is more worried about the tide that is expected to surge 6 to 8 feet. The hurricane is set to land just as the new moon brings the highest tide of the month Sunday morning.
In the garage, Dionisio has put his lawnmowers and leaf blowers on tables and racks as high up as possible.
Later Saturday night the friends will drive their cars to safety further inland, then come back by foot or bike to stay up all night and watch their houses and boats.
"You don't want to be caught sleeping during this," Dionisio said.
-- Nathaniel Popper in South Freeport, N.Y.
Photo: Nick Dionisio decided to stay at his South Freeport, N.Y., home despite evacuation orders. Credit: Nathaniel Popper / Los Angeles Times