We're expecting Hurricane Irene to hit the greater New York City area sometime tomorrow. The corporate news arm of the GOP is now doing wall-to-wall hurricane coverage, probably hoping for lots of tragedy to fill its 24-hour news cycle.
There's no real way of knowing the extent of the impact of Irene, but it's always a good idea to be prepared. Below are some resources for those in NYC with an emphasis on my nabes -- Park Slope and Sunset Park.
As of 8 p.m. this evening, the National Hurricane Center's "Five-Day Track Forecast Cone" has projected a course for Hurricane Irene that would take the eye of the storm just to the east of Prospect Park sometime between Saturday night and Sunday night. Governor Cuomo has declared a state of emergency for New York State. Mayor Bloomberg is expected to announce a decision on mandatory evacuations by 8 a.m. Friday. Needless to say, a direct hit from a hurricane on New York City could have serious consequences for all New York City residents.
The New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is closely monitoring the storm, which is currently a Category 3 hurricane (maximum sustained winds of 115 mph) and which is expected to make landfall in North Carolina sometime Saturday. While the storm could change course or weaken, the longer it remains on its projected path, the greater the probability that it will pass through our area. Given the potential power of the storm, it is prudent to plan for the worst while hoping for the best.
While most of Park Slope lies outside New York City's Hurricane Evacuation Zone, Red Hook and parts of the Gowanus basin lie in Zone A, which encompasses areas most at risk for dangerous storm surge, and portions of the neighborhood west of 3rd Avenue lie in Zone B, which the city reports could experience flooding from a Category 2 (or higher) hurricane. Some portions of the neighborhood west of Fifth Avenue are located in Zone C, which the city says could experience storm-surge flooding in a Category 3, 4 or 5 hurricane.
You can download a PDF map of New York City's Hurricane Evacuation Zones at
You can also use the Office of Emergency Management's Hurricane Evacuation Zone Finder to check whether your address is within any of the evacuation zones:
To stay up to date on the city's storm monitoring, please visit the OEM web site at
They've posted a hurricane evacuation guide with helpful tips. The John Jay High School campus building on 7th Avenue between 4th and 5th Streets is the nearest Evacuation Center.
The OEM is recommending that New York residents have a "Go Bag" prepared, and that people stock up on emergency supplies in advance of the storm. Click the links for more information.
The National Weather Service is providing regular Hazardous Weather Outlooks
here. You can track the storm via the National Hurricane Center web site: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/index.
Please make an effort to check up on elderly or disabled neighbors to make sure that they are prepared for the storm, and do heed warnings and recommendations from the city. As New Yorkers, we have a tendency to think we can tough it out, but a direct hit from a powerful hurricane could be like nothing we've ever experienced.