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Hurricane Irene in NYC: MTA to Close at Noon on Saturday, Mandatory Evacuation "Matter of Life and Death" Bloomberg Says

hurricane irene, nyc evacuation

New Yorkers face a mandatory evacuation before Hurricane Irene hits.

Hurricane Irene is scheduled to hit New York City on Sunday as a category 1 storm.  I’m currently watching Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s press conference and am slowly realizing that this storm is very serious business.  All hospitals and elder care centers in low lying areas have evacuated patients to higher ground.  Additionally, “Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg ordered a mandatory evacuation…. of coastal areas in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, along with Battery Park City and the financial district in Lower Manhattan and Governor’s Island,” by 5 pm on Saturday the New York Times reports.  I hope all New Yorkers will take storm preparedness seriously.  I quote Michael Bloomberg in saying, “We do not have the man power to go door to door and make people leave their homes, but this evacuation is mandatory….  If you don’t follow this, people might die.”

The mayor announced that the MTA will stop providing all subway, bus and train service as of noon on Saturday.  Many bridges, tunnels and the thruway may close as well.  Several city colleges have shifted their move-in date for incoming students from Saturday/Sunday to Monday.  Schools affected include NYU and St. John’s, among others.   Be sure to check your college’s website before traveling!

Need to know if you’re in an evacuation zone?  Concerned about friends and loved ones in the New York area?  Here’s all the information you need know to deal with Irene hitting the five boroughs:

Again, both Mayor Bloomberg and President Obama are urging Americans to take this storm seriously.  If you live in New York City, be sure to check this Hurricane evacuation map and make plans to stay with a friend who lives in a safe zone if need be.  The map allows you to enter your address and see exactly how close you live to an area likely to flood.  My house in Brooklyn is dangerously close to Zone A (the evacuation zone), though not in it.  I’m thankful that I’m currently visiting my mother in Central New York, which is not due to be affected by the storm, but I’m concerned about my apartment and of course all of my friends and loved ones.  (On a selfish note: do you think it’s too late to buy renters insurance?)  It’s also worth noting that permits for all events in New York have been revoked for Sunday, so if you had plans to attend the Fringe, Afro-Punk or the Dave Matthews Band shows at Governor’s Island this weekend, you’re out of luck.

During the press conference today, police officials said they are NOT prepared to move anyone who might get stranded in a flood, so it’s very important to take evacuating seriously.  “We don’t have a floatilla to move people.  We’re not in a position to transport people with boats,” commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters.  When asked if he thought people would comply with the mandatory evacuation, the mayor said, “The vast bulk will comply, a handful will try to comply when it’s too late.”

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