As Hurricane Sandy approaches New York City, officials have been discussing plans to evacuate residents in low-lying areas and possibly shut down the city’s subway system for fear of flooding.
Hurricane Sandy is likely to merge with two other intense weather patterns to create a “Frankenstorm” that is expected make landfall in the New York City metropolitan area early Tuesday morning. New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared a statewide state of emergency.
Currently, roughly 375,000 New Yorkers live in low-lying areas that would have to be evacuated in the case of a severe hurricane. Mayor Bloomberg has not yet announced whether or not residents in these areas would need to evacuate.
“This is a very dangerous storm,” Bloomberg said Friday at a news conference in City Hall. “Hopefully, tomorrow night we’ll have better news that it’s likely to go somewhere else, but even then, it could change at the last minute, because that’s the way the weather is.”
If Bloomberg goes through with the evacuation plan, the city’s 375,000 residents in low-lying areas will be instructed to head to one of the city’s 65 shelters, where they will be provided with food and supplies.
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At the same time, the Metropolitan Transit Authority announced that it plans to shut down the city’s subway system if Hurricane Sandy sustains winds of about 39 miles per hour when it makes landfall near New York.
According to state Homeland Security Commissioner Jerome Hauer, the absolute worst case scenario involves Hurricane Sandy combining with a nearby low pressure system (creating a “Frankenstorm”) and making landfall just south of New York City.
“The worst-case scenario is that the storm hits in the mid-Jersey area,” Hauer told Bloomberg. “That forces water from the ocean into New York Harbor and we get significant flooding in New York City, particularly in Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.”
Despite the dire predictions, Governor Cuomo has asked New Yorkers to remain calm in the face of Hurricane Sandy.
“There’s no need to panic,” Cuomo at a news conference. “We have a lot of time, and we’re prepared for any eventuality.”