THUNDER BAY – New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has taken a lead in New York sharing what people in the Big Apple need to do in order to make it through Hurricane Irene. Speaking tonight from the Emergency Command Center, Bloomberg has told residents who have not evacuated that the “time for evacuation is over”.
The Mayor is advising people to stay put until the storm passes.
“Hurricane Irene has reached New York City, and conditions are expected to deteriorate rapidly. The time for evacuation is over. Everyone should now go inside and be prepared to stay inside until weather conditions improve on Sunday afternoon,” said the Mayor.
The NYC Extreme Weather website reports, “Hurricane Irene is now affecting New York City, and conditions are expected to deteriorate overnight, with winds reaching 39 miles per hour and higher. A tornado watch is also in effect until 5 AM for the five boroughs. These conditions make it unsafe to be outside. Residents should stay indoors until weather conditions improve, and take the following steps:
- Move to a room with as few windows as possible and ride out the storm there;
- Move as far away as possible from windows. There is a risk that debris flying about could break and shatter windows in your home;
- Make sure windows and doors leading to the outside are closed;
- If you have a fireplace in your home, close the damper;
- Turn off any propane tanks”.
The National Weather Service states, “Tropical storm conditions expected, with hurricane conditions possible. Rain and possibly a thunderstorm. High near 75. North wind 45 to 65 mph decreasing to between 35 and 40 mph. Winds could gust as high as 75 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between 2 and 3 inches possible”.
Much of what is normal in New York, the city that “never sleeps” is not happening this weekend. Broadway is shutdown, the Subway and transit system is shutdown, and many businesses are closed. Earlier tonight, Geraldo Rivera, a Fox news host interviewing people on the streets of New York was told that “Only the Irish Pubs in the city are still open for business”.
On Saturday, Mayor Bloomberg shared, “So, the storm continues on track. We don’t have any other updates. Winds will pick up as you go through the afternoon. The reason that you have rain and then no rain, rain and then no rain is the way a hurricane works. There are these bands of rain that surround it, and when you’re between them you think there’s no storm, and when you’re under one of them you get a lot of rain. But we’re nowhere near yet the really heavy winds. Those will come in something about nine tonight. The place or the time when you’re likely to have flood damage of just literally water all of a sudden pouring over the side of the bulkhead is something like eight tomorrow morning. The winds are scheduled to subside late tomorrow afternoon, and then we’re going to have a whole separate set of issues of how we clean up and mass transit tries to get back, which probably is not going to happen until well into the day on Monday. So Monday morning is going to be a mess in terms of a commute”.
Bloomberg continued, “But our concern is saving lives. Our concern is making sure that the only thing that comes out of this is inconvenience and maybe a little bit of property damage. We don’t need people to die. Unfortunately I was told about somebody who fell of a ladder earlier when they were trying to board up their house. They haven’t died yet, but seriously injured and may in fact be fatal. Now things happen all the time, but we can take some steps to try to minimize the damage and prevent as many as we can”.
“We also are going to talk a little bit about power and the possibility of electricity being shut off in some areas. Kevin Burke from Con Ed is going to help us with that. But remember, we’re asking buildings to shut off their elevators, certainly doing that in NYCHA. We just don’t need people stuck in elevators. And if the power goes out while you’re in the elevator, we’re going to have to find out about it, which sometimes is hard to do, and then get the Fire Department there. The Fire Department should be standing by for real emergencies,” added the Mayor.
Bloomberg added, “National Grid is fully prepared. There is a chance that Con Ed will be forced to shut down parts of its grid if there is severe flooding. So besides having a Go Bag, you should also be prepared for the possibility of losing power in your home. That means consider filling your sinks and bathtubs with potable water, particularly if you live in an upper floor of an apartment building. A lot of the water gets pumped up, and if the electricity is not there, the pumps don’t work. So fill a bathtub or fill some sinks with water. Make sure you know where your flashlights are. It’s a good time to take them out, put them on the kitchen counter or some place where it’s easy to get. Make sure that they work. If not, stores may not be open for you to buy new batteries, but look around you probably have some. Charge your cell phones right now. And you can always text 311 at 311692, which is 311NYC. For updates about the storm, you could also go to nyc.gov as I said, or follow @nycmayorsoffice or @notifynyc on Twitter”.
“With that said, let me just do a couple things. I want to assure you that our city is safe, we will get through this. We are New Yorkers. We’ve always risen to the challenge. And by sticking together, we’re going to be able to do that again. We have been blessed by having plenty of people offer to help. We have Ted Monette, Senior Advisor at FEMA, here. I talked to Janet Napolitano yesterday I think it was. And I was on a conference call that the President has. Federal government has offered us anything we need. I think we’re in good shape, but it’s nice to know that they’re there. And the State, the same thing. I’ve talked to the Governor yesterday at length. Today we had Lieutenant Governor Bob Duffy here for a good part of the day. And from the Governor’s senior staff Larry Schwartz and Liz Glazer. Liz has been with us every day for the last few days, and Larry has been here all day long. And Nirav Shah, who is the State Health Commissioner, has been with us, and anything we need from the State they’ve offered. So nice to know that if we need something it is there.”