Weather Alert  

TROPICAL STORM WARNING IN EFFECT A Tropical Storm Warning means tropical storm-force winds are expected somewhere within this area within the next 36 hours * LOCATIONS AFFECTED - Huntington - Smithtown - Port Jefferson * WIND - LATEST LOCAL FORECAST: Equivalent Tropical Storm force wind - Peak Wind Forecast: 40-50 mph with gusts to 70 mph - Window for Tropical Storm force winds: Tuesday afternoon until Tuesday evening - THREAT TO LIFE AND PROPERTY THAT INCLUDES TYPICAL FORECAST UNCERTAINTY IN TRACK, SIZE AND INTENSITY: Potential for wind 58 to 73 mph - The wind threat has remained nearly steady from the previous assessment. - PLAN: Plan for dangerous wind of equivalent strong tropical storm force. - PREPARE: Remaining efforts to protect life and property should be completed as soon as possible. Prepare for significant wind damage. - ACT: Move to safe shelter before the wind becomes hazardous. - POTENTIAL IMPACTS: Significant - Some damage to roofing and siding materials, along with damage to porches, awnings, carports, and sheds. A few buildings experiencing window, door, and garage door failures. Mobile homes damaged, especially if unanchored. Unsecured lightweight objects become dangerous projectiles. - Several large trees snapped or uprooted, but with greater numbers in places where trees are shallow rooted. Several fences and roadway signs blown over. - Some roads impassable from large debris, and more within urban or heavily wooded places. A few bridges, causeways, and access routes impassable. - Scattered power and communications outages, but more prevalent in areas with above ground lines. * STORM SURGE - LATEST LOCAL FORECAST: Localized storm surge possible - Peak Storm Surge Inundation: The potential for up to 2 feet above ground somewhere within surge prone areas - Window of concern: Tuesday afternoon until early Wednesday morning - THREAT TO LIFE AND PROPERTY THAT INCLUDES TYPICAL FORECAST UNCERTAINTY IN TRACK, SIZE AND INTENSITY: Potential for storm surge flooding greater than 1 foot above ground - The storm surge threat has remained nearly steady from the previous assessment. - PLAN: Plan for storm surge flooding greater than 1 foot above ground. - PREPARE: Complete preparations for storm surge flooding, especially in low-lying vulnerable areas, before conditions become unsafe. - ACT: Leave immediately if evacuation orders are given for your area. - POTENTIAL IMPACTS: Limited - Localized inundation with storm surge flooding mainly along immediate shorelines and in low lying spots, or in areas farther inland near where higher surge waters move ashore. - Sections of near shore roads and parking lots become overspread with surge water. Driving conditions dangerous in places where surge water covers the road. - Moderate beach erosion. Heavy surf also breaching dunes, mainly in usually vulnerable locations. Strong and frequent rip currents. - Minor to locally moderate damage to marinas, docks, boardwalks, and piers. A few small craft broken away from moorings. * FLOODING RAIN - LATEST LOCAL FORECAST: - Peak Rainfall Amounts: Additional 1-3 inches, with locally higher amounts - THREAT TO LIFE AND PROPERTY THAT INCLUDES TYPICAL FORECAST UNCERTAINTY IN TRACK, SIZE AND INTENSITY: Potential for moderate flooding rain - The flooding rain threat has remained nearly steady from the previous assessment. - PLAN: Emergency plans should include the potential for moderate flooding from heavy rain. Evacuations and rescues are possible. - PREPARE: Consider protective actions if you are in an area vulnerable to flooding. - ACT: Heed any flood watches and warnings. Failure to take action may result in serious injury or loss of life. - POTENTIAL IMPACTS: Significant - Moderate rainfall flooding may prompt several evacuations and rescues. - Rivers and streams may quickly become swollen with swifter currents and may overspill their banks in a few places, especially in usually vulnerable spots. Small streams, creeks, canals, and ditches may overflow. - Flood waters can enter some structures or weaken foundations. Several places may experience expanded areas of rapid inundation at underpasses, low lying spots, and poor drainage areas. Some streets and parking lots take on moving water as storm drains and retention ponds overflow. Driving conditions become hazardous. Some road and bridge closures. * TORNADO - LATEST LOCAL FORECAST: - Situation is somewhat favorable for tornadoes - THREAT TO LIFE AND PROPERTY THAT INCLUDES TYPICAL FORECAST UNCERTAINTY IN TRACK, SIZE AND INTENSITY: Potential for a few tornadoes - The tornado threat has remained nearly steady from the previous assessment. - PLAN: Emergency plans should include the potential for a few tornadoes. - PREPARE: If your shelter is particularly vulnerable to tornadoes, prepare to relocate to safe shelter before hazardous weather arrives. - ACT: If a tornado warning is issued, be ready to shelter quickly. - POTENTIAL IMPACTS: Limited - The occurrence of isolated tornadoes can hinder the execution of emergency plans during tropical events. - A few places may experience tornado damage, along with power and communications disruptions. - Locations could realize roofs peeled off buildings, chimneys toppled, mobile homes pushed off foundations or overturned, large tree tops and branches snapped off, shallow rooted trees knocked over, moving vehicles blown off roads, and small boats pulled from moorings. * FOR MORE INFORMATION: - - -

We Need To Be A People Of Gratitude

It is hard to believe that another year has passed. So much has happened during this past year. Our world continues to be challenged by the on-going threats of terrorism and violence. Thousands of families ...

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It is hard to believe that another year has passed. So much has happened during this past year. Our world continues to be challenged by the on-going threats of terrorism and violence. Thousands of families continue to mourn, thousands of children are parentless. As a nation, we are moving forward. Hopefully with a cautious reserve, to work more aggressively toward peaceful alternatives in the Middle East.

As the New Year begins, there is a profound awareness that we need to live and act differently.

Unfortunately, bias crimes are up. Teenage violence is escalating. The use of designer drugs is escalating in all quarters of communities among all ages. Abuse, scandal and corruption have racked the heart of many religious communities across the country. The voiceless continue to cry out and have their voices fall on deaf ears. The bureaucracy continues to be more focused on procedure and regulation rather than on empowering people to freedom and self-reliance.

The President's "Faith Based" initiative to support religious groups doing charitable and human service work is potentially a dangerous and misguided effort to excuse the federal government and local communities from shouldering responsibility for the genuine poor and needy among us.

However, in spite of that landscape, as the New Year begins there is so much to be grateful for, so much to hope for and still so much that needs to be changed and/or improved.

Each holiday season I am amazed at the depth of people's generosity, from the ever growing outreach of Charlie Russo's Christmas Magic, that started as a family's expression of Christmas and grew to a program that touches thousands of little children around Suffolk County to our local churches and temples with their outreaches to our schools and colleges pitching in to touch people in need. This year has been especially touching. The many hands and hearts that come together are breathtaking and at times overwhelming. I only wish we could bottle that spirit of generosity and tap into it throughout the year.

People genuinely give of their treasure, even though these are difficult economic times. Equally impressive are the growing number of people stepping forward to give of their time and talent. So many charitable efforts are effective and successful because of the generosity of people's personal human gifts that cannot be assigned a price tag.

This year I have seen firsthand the exceptional generosity of some local physicians and dentists who went the distance and then some. Also, a growing list of retired teachers making a profound difference, giving their time regularly to work with some very hard to reach young men and women.

Each New Year, we all begin with a resolution that we hope to keep. Being who we are, by day two or three, we have broken the resolution or even forgotten what we have promised to do differently.

As I was thinking about this New Year, a few things came to mind. I have become very sensitive to the lack of tolerance and respect for those among us who are different, whether it's because of color, religion, sexual orientation or economic status. In many quarters, the intolerance is not overt, but rather very subtle. This is oftentimes much more infectious. Every semester in my sociology class at Suffolk Community College, my students share horrific stories of hate, discrimination and blatant prejudice.

So my first recommendation is that we work harder at respecting all people, no matter what their race, color, creed, religion or sexual orientation. Respect costs nothing. It shapes everything. There is no need to gossip or speak disrespectfully to anyone. People in public service (including religious people) need to be more respectful. Those in need of those services need to be more respectful. Respect should be freely given without condition or judgment.

We all have to work harder at being less judgmental of the human circumstances and situations that we don't understand. We should never judge a book by its' cover. We should never judge another by the color of one's skin, the clothes one wears, the piercings or tattoos one has or the lifestyle one embraces. If we judge less and respect more, the violence that is infecting our communities will be substantially reduced.

My second recommendation is that we need to work on patience. We always seem to be in a hurry to get to no place fast. In our racing, we sometimes fail to appreciate the richness around us. We miss so much. Our technology and active lives are cheating us of so many significant connections with people. Some of us are missing out on some important moments with our children. Others are missing opportunities to strengthen relationships with friends and loved ones. The possibility for new connections, new opportunities and new friendships gets lost in the race to do everything yesterday. We all need to slow down and smell the flowers before they die.

My last recommendation is that we all need to work harder at giving of our substance and not of our excess and to be a people of gratitude. There is not a charity alive that would not accept a material donation, big or small, but this recommendation is not about giving materially. Americans are known for their material generosity. We all could work harder at sharing our talents more creatively and courageously.

It is clear to me that the government is never going to get the formula right. It will continue to set people up for failure and enable people to be dependent on social welfare rather than enabling them to be more self-reliant. Welfare reform was supposed to transform or at least positively reconfigure the social landscape for the poor. The poor are voiceless. We need to be their voice.

We have so much abundance. This Christmas, thanks to a little guy, I realized that we need to be more grateful. At the 4 o'clock Christmas Eve service I had the privilege to preside at, over a thousand people gathered, most were under ten. During the reflection I asked for some of the little people to gather around the manger and help with the Christmas message. One of the questions I asked was "what are you grateful for?" At that age, children are not bashful. They said everything and anything and it was wonderful.

One last voice wanted to be heard. J had on a beautiful blue velvet suit and a new bow tie. He was about five or six. He had a baldhead, big blue eyes and a contagious smile. When I called on him, he jumped up and said "life."

What I did not know then that I know now, is that J wasn't supposed to be with us this Christmas. He is battling a rare form of leukemia. He has defied medical science and he knows it. He is here, strong and vibrant.

His story and that contagious smile just put everything into perspective. We need to be grateful, especially to the people that bless our lives in big and small ways every day. We need to tell them. Now!

We know that life is not the same. We have been painfully reminded that we are all vulnerable and not invincible. All life is sacred, but temporary. We will not live forever. Thus, whatever we can do to make life better, we need to do it now. We may never pass this way again.

So as the New Year unfolds, think about it, pray about it and act positively! Realize that you can make a difference that counts. Happy New Year!