NEW YORK – New York Mayor Bloomberg has updated residents in New York on the state of the city as Hurricane Sandy intensifies. “I think we have done all we can to prepare. “This afternoon I spoke with President Obama, Treasury Secretary Geithner and Governor Cuomo, all whom offered their support, and coordination with the Federal and State government I will say has been great,” stated Bloomberg. “Now as the storm intensifies, the most important thing I can say is if you’re in your home or somewhere safe when you can remain, stay there. The time for relocation or evacuation is over. Conditions outside are dangerous, and they’re only going to get worse in the hours ahead”.
“In Queens, we’re getting ten times the normal call volume of 911 calls to the FDNY – unfortunately, most are for downed trees or flooding conditions. That’s not what 911 is for. That’s 311. But if you use 911 it means the operator on the line is not free for somebody who has a real emergency to call. So please use 311 for downed trees or flooding.
“There have been more than 1,000 reports of tree damage in parks and on streets and we’re responding to them. Around half of them are for downed trees, half of them are for other damage.
“Earlier today a jogger was struck by a falling limb near Prospect Park and was hospitalized. Fortunately she is going to be okay, and she was not in a closed park, but she was running near it. And when you run under trees, whether they’re trees in the street or trees in a park, it is very dangerous with the wind. And a lot of these trees still have leaves on them. When the leaves are on the trees they catch a lot of water. It makes them a lot heavier and they’re much more likely to break off, and also to be susceptible to the wind.
“I can’t emphasize enough: stay indoors, and certainly away from the parks, the beaches, the boardwalks, piers and seawalls. We actually had to give a couple people summonses for trying to surf today. It is dangerous and the most important thing is that we’re going to have to come in after you. And for us to lose an emergency responder because of someone’s irresponsibility would be just an outrage. Once again, if you’re really in trouble call 911. If not, 311. But 911 is only for true emergencies.
“Now, we’ve already seen flooding in some of the city’s low-lying areas. We’ve also seen some power loss – more than 47,000 customers have lost power so far in the city. The vast majority of that, as you would expect, is in Queens and Staten Island because those are the areas served with overhead power lines,” added the Mayor.
“Con Ed may be shutting down power in parts of Lower Manhattan and southern Brooklyn, and Con Ed has been doing outreach to its customers – you may have received a phone call about this. Kevin Burke’s going to update us in a couple minutes. This is a preventive measure to protect their equipment from serious damage”.