More than 300 evacuees remain at the Red Cross Farmingdale State evacuation center Sunday afternoon, following a night of battering winds and rain from Hurricane Irene.
The evacuees are being warned not to leave until Nassau County officials say it is safe to return to their homes. But Red Cross volunteers said that some residents have left under their own will, like Freeport resident Martin Matthew.
"I believe the worst of it is over and I am anxious to see the damage to my home," Matthew said. He lives south of Sunrise Highway and said that his home floods frequently.
Currently less than 50 evacuees have signed out of the shelter, said volunteer Tara Callon.
Fresh food arrived at the shelter around noon, which the shelter occupants ate under dimmed gym lights.
Steve Koton and his family stood outside the shelter briefly to see if any pizza places in walking distance were open for lunch. They want to head home to their Bellmore home.
"We're ready to leave," Koton said.
Fernando Rodriguez, of Far Rockaway, said he will stay at the shelter until late tonight.
"It's better to wait to be safe, especially for the kids," he said.
The shelter's food and water supply is stocked, but the gym is warm despite the low lights. The gym doors that open to the outside can't be opened because it is considered a fire hazard, Farmingdale State maintenance officials said.
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