The Category 1 storm with a wind speed of 90 mph coupled with heavy downpours is predicted to hit New York sometime Sunday.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Thursday that it was very conceivable that he will order a mandatory evacuation of all low-lying areas of the city by Saturday, reported the New York Daily News.
The storm is predicted to be very dangerous, the mayor said.
New York City is prepared to shut down its entire mass transit system, if necessary, on Saturday as it braces for Hurricane Irene, officials said. Nursing homes in low-lying areas received orders to evacuate completely on Thursday.
Though the current predictions foresee a Category 1 storm, it is highly likely that it could turn into a Category 2 hurricane by Sunday.
According to NOAA's Hurricane Preparedness Guide, identifying the threat and executing a plan are extremely important.
Step 1. Identify Threat Level
Category 1: Very dangerous winds with 74-95 mph speed. Well-constructed frame homes could damage the roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles will likely result in power outages that could last from a few to several days.
Category 2: Extremely dangerous winds with 96-110 mph speed. Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.
Step 2. Prepare and Execute Contingency Plan
Determine safe evacuation routes inland and learn locations of official shelters. Check emergency equipment, such as flashlights, generators and battery-powered equipment such as cell phones and your NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards receiver. Turn refrigerator to maximum cold and keep it closed. Turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities. Turn off propane tanks. Unplug small appliances.
Buy food that is non-perishable, store drinking water and medications including first-aid kit. Buy plywood or other material to protect your home if you don't already have it. Fuel and service family vehicles. Fill bathtub and large containers with water in case clean tap water is unavailable. Use water in bathtubs for cleaning and flushing only. Do not drink it.
c. Reduce Risk:
Trim trees and shrubbery so branches don't fly into your home. Clear clogged rain gutters and downspouts. Decide where to move your boat. Review your insurance policy. Find pet-friendly hotels on your evacuation route. Bring in light-weight objects such as garbage cans, garden tools, toys and lawn furniture. Notify neighbors and a family member outside of the warned area of your evacuation plans. Take pets with you if possible, but remember, most public shelters do not allow pets other than those used by people with disabilities. Identify pet-friendly hotels along your evacuation route.
Step 3. Don't Avoid Warnings
Never keep the storm shutters open. Don't try to stay back if officials ask you to evacuate. Don't stay in a mobile or manufactured home. They are unsafe in high winds no matter how well fastened to the ground. Don't stay back if you live on the coastline, an offshore island or near a river or a flood plain or in an elevated building.
Step 4. Must Have a Go Bag
The emergency kit should include, at least, a 3-day supply of water (one gallon per person, per day), at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food, one change of clothing and shoes per person, one blanket or sleeping bag per person, first-aid kit, battery-powered NWR and a portable radio, emergency tools, flashlight, extra batteries, extra set of car keys, credit card and cash, special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members, and prescription and non-prescription medicines.
Step 5. Don't Hurry After the Storm
Even after the storm settles, keep listening to the radio, TV or NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards. Wait until an area is declared safe before entering, in case you were evacuated. Watch for closed roads. If you come upon a barricade or a flooded road, Turn Around!
Try and stay on firm, dry ground. Moving water only inches deep can sweep you off your feet. Standing water may be electrically charged from power lines.
If using a generator, avoid carbon monoxide poisoning by following the manufacturer's instructions.
Avoid weakened bridges and washed out roads.
Once home, check gas, water and electrical appliances for damage. Use a flashlight to inspect damage. Never use candles and other open flames indoors.
Wear proper shoes to prevent cutting feet on sharp debris. Do not drink or prepare food with tap water until officials say it is safe.
Avoid electrocution by not walking in areas with downed power lines.