New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declares State of Emergency as Hurricane ... - New York Daily News
Hurricane Sandy leveled homes in Cuba and Jamaica this week and it has been blamed for more than 20 deaths. The storm is marching north towards the U.S., and could slam New York with lashing rain, powerful winds and even snow.
Gov. Cuomo declared a state of emergency on Friday and city officials considered evacuating as many as 375,000 New Yorkers as Hurricane Sandy moved up the coast.
With the deadly hurricane expected to smash into the city as early as Sunday, Mayor Bloomberg said he’d make a decision about evacuation by late Saturday. NEW YORKERS: CLICK HERE TO SEE WHETHER YOU LIVE IN A HURRICANE EVACUATION ZONE
“We are taking all the steps that we need to take,” Bloomberg said during a hastily called afternoon press conference. “But the storm is moving at a rate that we're still not going to have a good sense of when and where it's going to hit land.” Franklin Reyes/AP
Hurricane Sandy blasted across eastern Cuba on Thursday as a potent Category 2 storm and headed for the Bahamas en route to the East Coast, forecasters predict.
He said the city would use its buses to move people out of hospitals and nursing homes in the low-lying areas of all five boroughs as it did during Hurricane Irene last year.
The city was also deciding whether to cancel school on Monday.
The superstorm has the potential to be one of the worst in the city’s history with major flooding and sustained winds of up to 80 mph for at least 24 hours, State Division of Homeland Security commissioner Jerome Hauer said.
“They’re saying it’s a worst case,” he warned. "It certainly has a possibility of being one of the worst."
Hauer said the city could face even more devastating storm surge flooding than was anticipated during Irene last year when large swaths of the city were evacuated and the subways were shut down for the first time in history. Carl Juste/The Miami Herald via AP
Locals walk across the flooded streets of La Plaine, Haiti after Hurricane Sandy caused flooding and claimed more than 20 lives across the Caribbean.
"We're at a point of time where people need to take precautions now," Hauer urged.
MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said officials would begin another shutdown of all buses and subways if necessary before winds reach 39 mph.
“Our first priority is always safety, and the MTA is taking no chances with the safety of our customers, our employees and our equipment,” Lhota said in a statement. “We are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. Whatever happens, we’ll be ready.”
Parts of the subway that are below sea level are particularly susceptible to flooding.
Hurricane Sandy left 40 people dead across the Caribbean before pulling away and heading up the coast.
AccuWeather warned that the storm would be “catastrophic” for the Middle Atlantic and Northeast.
“Damaging winds will affect areas from Virginia up into New York and New England, leading to widespread power outages and property damage,” an alert from the weather service said. Wilfredo Lee/AP
A sign on a door of a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., building warns of windy conditions, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012. Hurricane Sandy was expected to churn through the central and northwest Bahamas late Thursday and early Friday. It also might bring tropical storm conditions along the southeastern Florida coast, the Upper Keys and Florida Bay by Friday morning.
Meanwhile, city agencies were meeting Friday to prepare for the storm’s impact, said Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway.
“Obviously, this is a very strong storm and there are a lot of different weather patterns that could come into play as it makes its way up the coast,” said Holloway, who replaced
Mayor Bloomberg on the hizzoner’s weekly radio show. “It's already done damage in the places that it’s been and so we're taking it very seriously.”
Holloway said the city would use the coastal storm plan implemented during Irene.
Key agencies that would be involved in activating the plan were meeting on Friday including the Departments of Health and Homeless Services. The police and fire departments are involved as well are major utilities like ConEd.
"It is certainly going to be a long weekend,” Holloway said. “We are confident that we will be prepared for any contingency."
Mayor Bloomberg came under scrutiny for the city’s slow response to the post-Christmas blizzard in 2010 that blanketed the city in more than 20 inches of snow and crippled emergency services.
He was credited eight months later with an impressive response to Irene, which was expected to hit the city with hurricane-force winds but weakened to a tropical storm by the time it arrived.
While FEMA is advising people to load up on three to four days of supplies, Hauer said the state urges seven to 10 days instead. People should focus on perishable items, including water, and urged people to start buying supplies as soon as possible.
"There's always a possibility it goes further south and all we get is rain," Hauer said. "But models are becoming very consistent on a hit that turns this storm to the west somewhere between Delaware and New Jersey."
Hauer anticipates a conference scheduled for Albany on Monday of 1,000 emergency responders from across the state will likely be cancelled so the rescue workers can remain in their communities.
With the storm projected to hit the Atlantic coast early Tuesday, there was a 90 percent chance that most of the East Coast would get steady gale-force winds, flooding, heavy rain and maybe snow starting Sunday and stretching past Wednesday, U.S. forecaster Jim Cisco said.
With News Wire Services