Tag Archives: evacuations.

Not all Rockaway residents evacuated


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Billy Orr was one of many who decided to stay and ride out Sandy as it swept through the New York metropolitan area between Monday, October 29 and Tuesday, October 30.

The five-year Rockaway resident was not in town for Hurricane Irene, but many evacuated during that 2011 storm, which only brought stronger than normal winds. Because of that, Orr opted to stay in his beachfront apartment this year, assuming it would not be much different.

But on Thursday, November 1, he and other residents around Beach 117th Street were trying to push cars out of the waist-high sand that had collected at the end of the street.

“[Staying] was a big mistake,” he said.

As Sandy approached, elected officials urged Rockaway residents to heed the mandatory evacuation order from Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Roughly 60 residents stayed in his building, 136 Ocean Grand, Orr said, and, aside from power outages, the damage was minimal. The underground garage, however, was flooded with water. There was sand and water that poured into the party room on the building’s ground floor.

Even worse were the emotions stirred, the raw fear as the waves crashed toward the shore and up the streets of Rockaway.

“It was terrifying,” Orr said. “I would never do it again.”

His main concern was that the colossal weather would ultimately destroy the building, leaving the dozens of residents homeless and out in the storm.

“I was worried the building was coming down,” he said.

Waves were so tremendous, Orr said, that pieces of the boardwalk were picked up and brought into the street, sometimes taking a parked car with them.

“[The waves] picked up the boardwalk and moved it like nothing,” he said.

In the days after Sandy’s fury, the building’s residents were still sticking it out, many of them staying in the building even without power, Orr said. They were going to barbecue, he said, sounding almost cheerful.

“We’re staying here tonight.”

Then he rejoined the others and continued working to push a truck out of mounds of sand.

— With additional reporting by Alexa Altman

 

Queens Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Today’s Forecast

Thursday: A slight chance of showers after 3pm. Cloudy, with a high near 56. West wind 9 to 13 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%. Thursday night: A slight chance of showers before 10pm. Cloudy, with a low around 47. West wind 9 to 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Limited subway service returns this morning

Limited subway service will return to New York City tomorrow morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced. Fourteen lines will be providing partial service days after the system sustained the worst damage in its 108-year history. There is no indication as of yet what lines or stops will be in service. There will be no subway service between 34th St in Midtown and Downtown Brooklyn. Read more: Queens Courier

Mayor mandates car passenger minimums in Manhattan

Cars with less than three passengers will be virtually barred from entering Manhattan, Mayor Bloomberg announced today, in a desperate bid to relief gridlocked city streets. This post-Hurricane Sandy rule will be enforced from 6 a.m. to midnight tomorrow and Friday. Read more: NY Post

Old Howard Beach residents wonder why they weren’t evacuated

As the flood waters from Hurricane Sandy ebb back in to Jamaica Bay, some are questioning why residents of Howard Beach were not evacuated. Howard Beach lies on the edge of Evacuation Zone A, which, for Queens, includes the Rockaways, parts of Long Island City, Broad Channel and nearby Hamilton Beach. Read more: Queens Courier

Bellevue Hospital evacuating patients after power outage

Bellevue Hospital began evacuating hundreds of patients Wednesday after fuel pumps swamped by 17 million gallons of water from superstorm Sandy conked out, putting backup generators in peril. The decision to clear out capped two challenging days at the city’s flagship public hospital — where lights flickered, elevators shut down, plumbing failed and the National Guard had to man a bucket brigade. Read more: Daily News

Prominent Queens attorney and philanthropist John G. Nicholas dies at age 79

John G. Nicholas, a prominent Queens lawyer and philanthropist, died on Oct. 15. He was 79. His family said the cause of death was heart failure. “He was a true humanitarian and he placed his faith in people,” said his son Charles Nicholas, 51, an attorney from Syosset, L.I. “He was a defender of the oppressed.” Read more: Daily News

Safety tips for returning home after Hurricane Sandy


| editorial@queenscourier.com

When conditions allow, thousands of displaced residents will leave family members’ houses and evacuation centers to return home. When returning, residents should pack a cleanup kit and inspect their homes before entering. Here are some tips to ensure your return home is a safe one:

• Check for downed or loose power lines and gas leaks. Gas leaks will smell like rotten eggs; call Con Edison immediately if you suspect a leak. Do not touch downed power lines or anything in contact with them and do not attempt to drive over one.

• Examine the foundation, roof and chimney for cracks or other damage. Inspect porch roofs and overhangs. If you find obvious damage or have serious doubts about safety, contact a building inspector before you go inside.

• Enter your home slowly. If the door sticks at the top as it opens, it could mean the ceiling is ready to cave in. If you force the door open, stand outside to avoid being hit by falling debris.

• If after you enter you smell gas or hear a hissing or blowing sound, open a window, leave immediately and turn off the main gas valve from the outside, if you can.

• Check water and sewage systems; if pipes are damaged, turn off the main water valve.

• When cleaning up, wear protective clothing and make sure your hands, arms, feet and legs are covered. If you have cuts on your hands or other body parts, protect them from contact with water or debris. You will want to protect yourself from inhaling harmful odors or fumes while cleaning up.

Old Howard Beach residents wonder why they weren’t evacuated


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Victoria Holt (VRPhotography)

As the flood waters from Hurricane Sandy ebb back in to Jamaica Bay, some are questioning why residents of Howard Beach were not evacuated.

Howard Beach lies on the edge of Evacuation Zone A, which, for Queens, includes the Rockaways, parts of Long Island City, Broad Channel and nearby Hamilton Beach.

“Our lives were put in jeopardy,” said Joe Barretta, who lives on 95th Street in Old Howard Beach.

Barretta said that as the flood waters rose, his two-year-old and two-month-old children were taken to safety by a neighbor. To prevent some of the massive damage to homes and threats to lives, Barretta said the neighborhoods lying on the edge of Jamaica Bay should have been evacuated.

Councilmember Eric Ulrich said he was upset Howard Beach residents had not been advised to leave the area.

“They were just as much victims as anyone else,” he said.

People and store owners in the neighborhood, Ulrich said, suffered tremendous losses, and had not been prepared for the severity of the storm.

Hurricane Sandy updates: Subway “has never faced a disaster as devastating” as yesterday: MTA CEO


| editorial@queenscourier.com

storm

10:30 a.m.

Statement from MTA Chairman and CEO Joe Lhota:

The New York City subway system is 108 years old, but it has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced last night. Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on our entire transportation system, in every borough and county of the region. It has brought down trees, ripped out power and inundated tunnels, rail yards and bus depots.

As of last night, seven subway tunnels under the East River flooded. Metro-North Railroad lost power from 59th Street to Croton-Harmon on the Hudson Line and to New Haven on the New Haven Line. The Long Island Rail Road evacuated its West Side Yards and suffered flooding in one East River tunnel. The Hugh L. Carey Tunnel is flooded from end to end and the Queens Midtown Tunnel also took on water and was closed. Six bus garages were disabled by high water. We are assessing the extent of the damage and beginning the process of recovery. Our employees have shown remarkable dedication over the past few days, and I thank them on behalf of every New Yorker. In 108 years, our employees have never faced a challenge like the one that confronts us now. All of us at the MTA are committed to restoring the system as quickly as we can to help bring New York back to normal.

10:15 p.m.

A second person has been reported dead in Queens from Hurricane Sandy, according to authorities.

Police said a woman was electrocuted at 105th Avenue and 135th Street in Richmond Hill at approximately 7:45 p.m.  Reports indicate she stepped in an electrified puddle, though police could not confirm at this time.

A man was killed earlier when a tree fell on his house in Flushing.

10 p.m.

Bloomberg updated residents on Hurricane Sandy:

- Con Ed expects outages to last at least through the morning, possible longer.

- New York University Hospital power is out along with a backup generator, patients are currently being moved.

- 9-1-1 is receiving 10,000 calls per hour, 10 times the normal rate.  The calls are overflowing their lines.  Bloomberg said that unless you are in an emergency, do not call 9-1-1, dial 3-1-1.

8:20 p.m.

According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Sandy has made landfall along the coast of Southern New Jersey.

7:45 p.m.

A 30-year-old man died after a tree fell on his Flushing house near 46th Avenue and 166th Street at approximately 7 p.m.  There were no other injuries reported in the incident, police said.

6:50 p.m.

About 100 firefighters are on scene as part of an 8th Avenue building has collapsed.  According to the Daily News, no injuries are being reported at the four-story, 25 unit building on 8th Avenue and 14th Streets.

5:55 p.m.

Public transportation likely to remain shutdown through tomorrow.

5:50 p.m.

The highest surge in the Rockaways, in the Battery and on Staten Island between 6:30 and 10:30 p.m., said Bloomberg. In parts of the city that are on the Long Island Sound, the peak surge will be between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m.

5:45 p.m.

Bloomberg asked residents to call 3-1-1 for downed trees and limbs, not 9-1-1, so the lines can remain open for emergencies.

5:30 p.m.

Mayor Bloomberg updates New Yorkers on Hurricane Sandy.

 

4:10 p.m.

The Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge will close immediately due to high winds. The George Washington, Verrazano, Marine Parkway, Whitestone, Henry Hudson and Throgs Neck bridges will close at 7 p.m.  Midtown Tunnel and RFK Bridge to remain open for now.

4 p.m.

Governor Cuomo held anothe update on Hurricane Sandy

“Storm is as expected so far,” Cuomo said. “Sandy’s fury is still coming to be coming tonight.”

The worst of the storm may begin at 6 p.m. this evening.

Cuomo announced the deployment of 1,000 National Guardsman, mostly on Long Island.

3:20 p.m.

Governor Cuomo announced the Tappan Zee Bridge will close at 4 p.m.

3:15 p.m.

Danny Ruscillo, president of the 100 Precinct Community Council, said there was flooding around manhole covers in some areas of Breezy Point and Neponsit this morning, but it seems to have subsided.

The Parks Department was still out trying to build sand barricades this afternoon. Some of the barricades, however, were destroyed by this morning’s surge, according to Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder. The Parks Department has been trying to restore the damages before the next major surge.

Firefighters have been going around the peninsula to help people evacuate or get to their homes, the assemblymember said.

2:30 p.m.

All CUNY schools cancelled classes through tomorrow.  The stock market will also be closed for the second consecutive day due to the storm.

12:50 p.m.

President Barack Obama briefed the country on the storm expected to make landfall over the next couple of hours.

“This is going to be a big and powerful storm,” Obama said.

He said the fact that governors and local officials have had a couple of days of coordination has allowed municipalities to be prepared as best they can.  He also said resources will be available following the storm for areas hit hardest.

12:10 p.m.

The city will continue to run buses at public housing in Zone A for the next hour attempting to evacuate all residents before it becomes too dangerous to do so. Evacuation centers throughout the five boroughs are still accepting residents.

About 3,100 people — 73 pets —are currently in one of the centers along with about 3,000 volunteers.

The city has also increased effort to reach homeless residents on the street.

“Its just dangerous to be out on the streets when the winds are this high,” Bloomberg said.

Noon

Senator Charles Schumer is asking FEMA to expedite aid to New York.

“No question we will need the $26 million limit,” Schumer said. The senator wants the agency to skip the preliminary steps and pronounce a major disaster declaration for the area.

11:50 a.m.

Sanitation workers were out today collecting garbage and will pick up tomorrow where possible. Crews will also be attempting to clear roads of downed limbs.

11:40 a.m.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that city schools will remain closed tomorrow.  He said there is no chance public transportation will be running by tomorrow morning.

After-school activities and Public Schools Athletic League events will also be cancelled.

11 p.m.

Storm surges have already approached Hurricane Irene levels, said Howard Glaser, director of state operations, with Hurricane Sandy still hundreds of miles away.  The total storm surge New York saw in last year’s storm reached about nine and a half feet.  Predictions for Hurricane Sandy forecast up to an 11.7  foot surge, which would break the record 10.5 foot surge of Hurricane Donna in 1960.

Governor Andrew Cuomo spent yesterday touring the state and is confidant in New York’s preparation for the storm.

“In a cruel irony, the consistency of the exposure has helped us getting more prepared,” Cuomo said.

Despite preparation, the storm still presents great danger, he said.

“Citizens do not have to be on the road,” Cuomo said. “You do not need to be going to the beach to take pictures. Don’t be fooled by looking out the window and saying its not that bad.”

10:45 a.m.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the Holland and Brooklyn-Battery tunnels will close today at 2 p.m. Bridges will remain open as of now.

9:15 a.m.

The Food Bank for New York City will continue to  to distribute food to operational soup kitchens, food pantries, senior centers and agencies in non-evacuated parts of the five boroughs.

“Food Bank For New York City is actively working to fulfill two main priorities: services to our members and services to the clients of our kitchen and pantry,” said President and CEO Margarette Purvis. “The storm takes on a whole new dimension for our network because we’re at the end of the month when many families find themselves using our programs because their resources have run out. With this in mind, maintaining services for our neediest neighbors during this time of crisis is critical. We’re also contacting our most active member agencies to determine food supply needs and are preparing to send emergency trucks as available.”

8:45 a.m.

Con Edison is reporting a power outage in Rosedale, Queens that is affecting 1,022 customers there, and is currently responding to it. To report any service loss, call ConEd at 1-800-752-6633.

8:00 a.m.

All U.S. stock and options trading will be closed on Monday because of Hurricane Sandy and may be closed on Tuesday as well. It’s the first time the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has shut down for an entire day because of weather since 1985 when Hurricane Gloria hit the city. Yesterday, sandbags  were placed in front of the NYSE in anticipation of the storm.

10:40 p.m.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a high wind warning for the area as Hurricane Sandy’s gusts are expected to pick up beginning tomorrow morning.

The warning will remain in effect from Monday at 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

Sustained winds are forecasted to reach 30 to 50 mph with gusts up to 80 mph, according to the NWS.  The strongest winds are expected Monday afternoon through the night.

A significant threat to life and property exists from winds of this strength, the NWS said.

Downed limbs, trees and power lines could be widespread in this weather.

10:15 p.m.

Along with high schools and grade schools closing tomorrow, Queens colleges also cancelled classes.  Queens College, York College, Queensborough Community College and LaGuardia Community College are all closed tomorrow.

8 p.m.

President Barack Obama granted Governor Andrew Cuomo’s request for a federal emergency declaration as Hurricane Sandy is about to strike New York.

The declaration allows the state to receive assistance and resources to aid in evacuation, sheltering and other measures.

“Once again, I thank the president for his quick response to my request for a federal emergency declaration which will apply to the entire State of New York. We appreciate the federal government’s support as we continue to prepare for Hurricane Sandy,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo declared a state of emergency in New York yesterday ahead of Hurricane Sandy.

6:30 p.m.

The Staten Island will cancel service beginning at 8 p.m. from the St. George Terminal and 8:30 p.m. from the Whitehall Terminal. East River Ferry Service is suspended through tomorrow. PATH trains will shut down at midnight.  Amtrack will cease operating northeast corridor serivce at 7 p.m. and nearly all service on the eastern seaboard on Monday, including Acela Express, Northeast Regional, Keystone and Shuttle trains.

4:30 p.m.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg held another press conference at 4 p.m. to update residents on preparations for Hurricane Sandy.

“If you have not yet left Zone A, please get to public transportation as soon as possible,” the mayor said.  Zone A areas must be evacuated by 7 p.m. tonight.

Buses are being sent to all public housing in Zone A to transfer residents to evacuation centers throughout the borough.

Fliers have been posted and staffers are knocking on doors and making calls to ensure residents leave NYCHA housing in the vulnerable areas.

Elevators, water and heat will begin being shut down at 7 p.m. in these buildings.

There are no plans to close bridges or tunnels at this time. the mayor said.

Mayor orders mandatory evacuations for Rockaways, Hamilton Beach and Broad Channel


| brennison@queenscourier.com

File photo

With Hurricane Sandy making its way for New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has ordered the mandatory evacuations of Zone A areas which includes the Rockaways, Broad Channel and Hamilton Beach.

Parts of other low-lying Queens areas are also being evacuated.  Click here for the map of the evacuation areas. The low-lying coastal areas are most vulnerable during the storm that is expected to see large surges at sea.

The evacuations are set for 7 p.m. tonight.

“They are not only endangering their own lives, they are endangering the lives of other,” the mayor said of those who choose to ignore the order.

There are 16 evacuation centers throughout Queens.  Click here to find one near you.

“Do not wait until the last minute to get public transportation,” the mayor said.

Public transportation will be shutting down tonight; The last train will depart at 7 p.m., buses at 9 p.m. tonight.