A significant storm is forecast to impact New York City today from approximately mid-day Wednesday through Thursday morning. Although only an inch of rain is forecast, sustained winds will reach 25 to 40 miles per hour, with gusts up from 55 to 65 miles per hour. The wind will cause a storm surge ranging from 3 to 5 feet at high tide Wednesday afternoon, with the highest surge levels forecast for the Western Long Island sound; surge levels are forecast to be slightly lower at high tide Wednesday night.
The City is taking significant precautions in advance of the storm, including halting all construction, closing all City parks, encouraging drivers to stay off the road after 5:00 PM, or to use extreme caution if they have to drive and employing door to door operations to urge people without heat to take shelter to stay warm.
While this storm is significant, under normal circumstances, it would likely result in minor coastal flooding in low-lying areas, and the normal risk of downed trees associated with these types of storms.
Because Hurricane Sandy weakened trees and caused extensive damage and debris, the predicted wind speeds present an increased risk of more downed trees and tree limbs, as well as windblown debris. All New Yorkers are urged to stay indoors during inclement conditions.
In light of the beach erosion and other damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, some of the lowest-lying areas in the city – particularly the areas flooded by last week’s storm – are vulnerable to storm surge today.
No general evacuations have been ordered, but if you experienced significant flooding during Hurricane Sandy, you should consider taking shelter with family and friends, who do not live in low-lying areas, or go to one of the City-run storm shelters.
In particular, based on analysis of the erosion caused by Hurricane Sandy, residents of Breezy Point, Hamilton Beach, and Gerristen Beach should consider taking shelter with family or friends, or at a City-run shelter. The Police Department is making announcements via loudspeakers in these neighborhoods and other areas that saw significant flooding.
A listing of shelters can be found here.
A listing of pickup locations for buses going to shelters is here.