With a Nor’easter storm forecast to strike the already devastated area late on Wednesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said residents in the city’s lowest-lying areas will be evacuated to shelters, exterior construction work must cease at noon on Wednesday and parks and beaches will be closed at the same time – for at least 24 hours.
“We just don’t need to send our first responders into the ocean to save someone who is being foolish,” Bloomberg said.
He emphasized Wednesday’s evacuations, designed to coincide with high tides when the storm surge would be highest, would not be as widespread as the mandatory evacuations of large parts of the city ordered before Sandy hit the city last week. The new evacuation zone includes the south shore of Staten Island – home to nearly half of the 41 people killed in New York City by Sandy – and the hard-hit Rockaways section of Queens.
The new storm was forecast to bring an inch (2.5 cm) of rain possibly mixing with sleet, winds gusts up to 50 mph (80 kph), and a surge of up to 4-1/2 feet (1.4 meters), with coastal flooding expected near midnight on Wednesday, the mayor said.
“That makes trees that already have their base flooded more likely to fall over, and that’s something we’re going to worry about,” Bloomberg said.
Areas that suffered erosion from Sandy’s record-breaking 13.2 feet (4 meters) storm surge may have problems with the smaller surge of the new storm, he said.
Still in the dark from the devastation caused by Sandy are 91,000 households in New York City waiting for power to be restored.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the power restoration efforts were disappointing at best.
“I am unsatisfied with the performance of all the utilities .. I don’t think their performance has been adequate – period,” Cuomo said.
The additional crews brought in from around the country to help get New York back on its feet after Sandy will be held until the region recovers from the second natural disaster in as many weeks, he said.
“I am directing the utility companies not to release any of those crews” until we get through the next storm, Cuomo said.
He warned that the new front could further complicate a gas shortage that has created long lines at the pumps, which Cuomo blamed on “panic buying.”
City sanitation crews have already removed 60,000 tons of storm debris from Sandy in a scramble to get ahead of the new storm, Bloomberg said. And the number of city schools plagued by problems, some with no heat, has dropped to 47 from 57, he said. DM
Photo: A man walks down Shore Front Parkway surrounded by debris pushed onto the streets by hurricane Sandy in the Queens borough region of the Rockaways in New York, November 6, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Support DAILY MAVERICK & get FREE UBER vouchers every month
An increasingly rare commodity, quality independent journalism costs money, though not nearly as much as its absence can cost global community. No country can live and prosper without truth - that's why it matters.
Every Daily Maverick article and every Scorpio exposé is proof of our dedication to this unshakeable mission. Investing in our news media is by far the most effective investment into South Africa's future.
You can support Independent and Investigative journalism by joining Maverick Insider. If you contribute R150 or more per month you will receive R100 back in UBER vouchers. EVERY MONTH until October 2019.
So, if you'd like to help and do something meaningful for yourself and your country, then sign up to become a Maverick Insider. Together we can Defend Truth.
"Blue is the typical heavenly colour. The ultimate feeling it creates is one of rest. When it sinks to almost black it echoes grief that is hardly human." ~ Wassily Kandinsky