Tag Archives: storm

Many Rockaway residents ignore evacuation, remain home


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER?Photo by Terence Cullen

Despite calls from elected officials in the area, many Rockaway residents say they’re staying, and have hunkered down for the impacts of Hurricane Sandy.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced earlier today that NYCHA would begin shutting down elevator service, heating and hot water in the 26 housing developments within Zone A as a means to drive people from the flood zones and into shelters.

John D’Arrigo said he and his wife Ruthanne are staying put in their beachfront apartment — although they evacuated last year for Hurricane Irene.

“Last year we kind of evacuated,” he said on the boardwalk of Rockaway Beach, “but this time we’re going to stay here.”

D’Arrigo, like many others who plan to stay, said he stocked up on necessary items and will wait out the storm.

“We’re hoping for the best and preparing for the worst,” he said.

Likewise, Oscar Izquierdo said he was not worried about the storm, or flooding in his third floor apartment. His concern right now was potential flooding or water damage to his car.

Some, however, said they are closing up and heading to higher ground.

Elizabeth Bethea said she was helping to close down her cafe, Veggie Island, and heading out to Brooklyn.

The city has been working all weekend to build sand barriers around potential flood sites on the southern coast of the peninsula, particularly around Beach 116th Street and Rockaway Beach Park.

“I’m just hoping the barricades do hold up here,” said Danny Ruscillo, president of the 100th Precinct Community Council.

Neighbors are working together to fill sand bags to prevent flooding, Ruscillo said, adding that “everybody’s helping everybody.”

Elected officials and staffers have been throughout the peninsula this weekend reaching out to residents and urging them to move to designated evacuation centers.

State Senator Malcolm Smith voiced concern that people were lax about staying put for a storm expected to devastate the area. He added that 90 percent of the residents he spoke to said they decided to stay where they were.

By staying in the area, Smith said residents were not only putting their own lives at risk, but those of the first responders who would have to return to the peninsula to save them.

“We don’t want this to be another Katrina,” Smith said.”They didn’t treat Katrina serious and you saw many lives in loss, and this is what could end up being here. The problem is people don’t feel any rain, it’s just a slight wind so think we’re going to be fine. I think preparation is sound, I just would hope people understand how serious this is, and do not put their families at risk and our first responders.”

Surfers trying to capitalize on the growing waves have been continually urged to stay out of the water.

“They [surfers] want to catch some great waves, but they’re putting their lives in jeopardy, and also they’re putting other people at risk: the first responders, and the people that have to drag them out of the water when it becomes too rough,” said Councilmember Eric Ulrich.

Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder said he’s spoken to Governor Andrew Cuomo about continued assistance from the state and FEMA in preparation for Hurricane Sandy, and to co-ordinate relief efforts for the colossal effects it’s projected to have.

“I’m confident that the city, state and federal government will work together to bring the aid to people as soon as possible,” he said.

Shoppers flock to stores for last minute supplies


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Toni Cimino

With Hurricane Sandy expected to hit New York City beginning tonight, residents flocked to hardware stores and supermarkets to stock up on goods to get them though the storm.

Locals lined up dozens deep at area stores for water, batteries and sandbags preparing themselves for the hurricane that is forecasted to bring gusts of winds up 80 mph and multiple inches of rain per hour.

The Fresh Meadows Key Food has seen about 1,000 more shoppers each of the past two days than average, said an assistant manager, though more residents flooded the store last year in the lead up to Hurricane Irene.

The Home Depot in Long Island City has sold out of generators and sandbags and Ace Hardware on Francis Lewis Boulevard is out of batteries.

A designer at the Bay Terrace Waldbaum’s said the shoppers have remained well behaved during the rush that has brought lines usually reserved for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

– Additional reporting from Alexa Altman, Melissa Chan and Toni Cimino

Evacuation centers in Queens


| brennison@queenscourier.com

The mayor has already ordered the mandatory evacuations of vulnerable areas in Queens ahead of Hurricane Sandy, and others may want to head to an evacuation center just to be safe.

Here are the 16 evacuation centers in Queens:

• John Adams High School- 101-01 Rockaway Blvd., Ozone Park.

• Grover Cleveland High School- 21-27 Hinrod Street, Ridgewood

• Aviation High School- 45-30 36th Street

• Bayside High School- 32-24 Corp. Kennedy Boulevard

• Belmont Racetrack- Hempstead Turnpike and Cross Island Parkway

• Flushing High School- 35-01 Union Street

• Forest Hills High School- 67-01 110th Street

• J.H.S. 185- 147-26 25th Drive

• Hillcrest High School- 160-05 Highland Avenue

• Newcomers High School- 28-01 41st Avenue

• Newtown High School- 48-01 90th Street

• P.S. 19- 98-02 Roosevelt Avenue

• Queens College- 65-30 Kissena Boulevard

• Queensborough Community College- 222-05 56th Avenue

• William C. Bryant High School- 48-10 31st Avenue

• York College- 94-20 Guy R. Brewer Boulevard

City schools closed Monday, possibly Tuesday


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Mike DiBartolomeo

With the city’s transportation shutting down tonight, the mayor also announced the closure of schools on Monday.

Heavy rains and strong winds have also forced evacuations of low-lying areas throughout the five boroughs.

“Due to anticipated inclement weather conditions from Hurricane Sandy, all New York City public schools will be closed to students tomorrow, October 29. Administrative offices will be open. All after-school activities and Public Schools Athletic League events will also be cancelled. We are asking that school staff and employees assigned to a shelter site to report to their posts,” said Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott.

A decision has yet to be made regarding school openings on Tuesday, though the mayor said he hopes that children will be able to return by then.

 

 

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.

 

City agencies prepping for “Frankenstorm”


| brennison@queenscourier.com

With Hurricane Sandy barreling toward the city, city agencies are preparing for the possible massive storm.

The heavy rain and strong winds can cause unsafe conditions throughout the public transportation system and on the city’s bridges and tunnels.  No decision has been made yet as to whether there will be any service stoppages during the storm.

“We are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Joe Lhota. “Whatever happens, we’ll be ready.

They MTA last suspended operation during Hurricane Irene. The MTA’s hurricane plan calls for “an orderly shutdown of service before the arrival of sustained winds of 39 mph or higher.  Sustained winds are forecasted to be between 40-50 mph.

Those high winds and rain falling at 1-2 inches per hour may also knock out power.

“This is a large unpredictable storm, so be prepared for outages,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

Con Edison has crews prepping for the conditions that could effect the city’s electric, gas and steam systems.

Customers can report downed power lines and outages at www.conEd.com. They also can call 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633).

In the event the hurricane hits our area, Con Edison offered the following safety tips:

  •  If you see downed electrical wires, do not go near them. Treat all downed wires as if they are live. Never attempt to move or touch them with any object. Be mindful that downed wires can be hidden from view by tree limbs, leaves or water.
  • Report all downed wires to Con Edison and your local police department immediately. If a power line falls on your car while you’re in it, stay inside the vehicle and wait for emergency personnel.
  • If your power goes out, turn off all lights and appliances to prevent overloaded circuits when power is restored.
  • Check to make sure your flashlights and any battery-operated radios are working. Also, make sure you have a supply of extra batteries. Weather updates and news on power outages can be heard on most local radio and television stations.
  • Avoid opening your freezer to see if food is still frozen. Every time you open the door, room-temperature air enters and speeds the thawing process. Most fully loaded freezers will keep food frozen for approximately 36 to 48 hours; half-full freezers will keep food frozen for approximately 24 hours.

Governor declares state of emergency as Hurricane Sandy heads for Queens


| brennison@queenscourier.com

File photo

Meteorologists expect the pre-Halloween hurricane horror “Frankenstorm” to strike Queens early Monday with the strongest surge coming later that day.

Hurricane Sandy has already blown through Haiti and Cuba and is forecasted to make a significant impact on a large portion of the New York metro area, said National Weather Service meteorologist David Stark.  Due to the storm’s potential impact, Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency throughout New York.

Tropical storm-level winds may begin Sunday night with the stronger gusts coming Monday.  Sustained winds at 40-50 mph with gusts 60-70 mph  are expected with the potential for even stronger bursts.  Power outages, structural damage and downed trees are common in those types of winds.

Waves may reach 2o-25 feet off the coast.

“What we’ve been saying to everyone in coastal communities is prepare for a significant amount of coastal flooding,” Stark said.

During the heaviest rainfall, one to two inches per hour may flood areas.

Officials have not yet issued mandatory evacuations of low-lying areas, though they are still possible.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has canceled all elective admissions at hospital in Zone A, which include the Queens neighborhoods of the Rockaways, Hamilton Beach and Broad Channel.

A decision on whether to close schools in the city will likely be made on Sunday, the mayor said.

Hurricanes rarely touch down in the area this late in hurricane season which lasts through November. Some have briefly touched the area in October, Stark said.

“It’s happening a little closer to land than what is typically common,” Stark said.

The “Frankenstorm” is interacting with a jet stream and cold front from the west pulling it back to the west rather than continuing out into open waters.

 

Power outages throughout Queens


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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Severe storms striking the area have knocked out power to hundreds of customers in Queens.

Heavy rains and strong winds are expected to pound the area throughout the night.  Downed trees and limbs place power lines at risk.

Approximately 200 borough residents still find themselves without power. Earlier this evening nearly 1,500 were without electricity in Queens.

Con Ed is responding to the outages.  To report power loss call 800-75CONED.

The company also issued some safety tips in the event you see a downed power line:

  • If you see downed electrical wires, do not go near them. Treat all downed wires as if they are live. Never attempt to move them or touch them with your hands or any object. Be mindful that downed wires can be hidden from view by tree limbs, leaves or water.
  • Report all downed wires to Con Edison and your local police department immediately. If a power line falls on your car while you’re in it, stay inside the vehicle and wait for emergency personnel.
  • If your power goes out, disconnect or turn off appliances that would otherwise turn on automatically when service is restored. If several appliances start up at once, the electric circuits may overload.
  • Check to make sure your flashlights and any battery-operated radios are in working order. Make sure you have a supply of extra batteries.
  • Weather updates and news on restorations of electrical service can be heard on most local radio and television stations.

Flood advisory issued for Queens


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Heavy rains and thunderstorms may cause flash flooding throughout the borough.

The National Weather Service issued a flood advisory with up to one inch of rain per half hour forecasted to be poured on Queens through 2 p.m.

Forty mph winds are expected to accompany the thunderstorm.

Heavy rain over a short period of time caused massive flooding in many areas of Queens two weeks ago, placing streets under water, while flooding residents’ basements.

 

Con Ed, union reach deal, end lock out


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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Thunderstorms threatening New York City helped Con Edison and its workers strike a tentative deal ending a month long lock out.

After a temporary deal was struck earlier in the day to send some workers back to the job, Con Ed, Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers of America and Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a tentative agreement on a new four-year deal.

“We would like to thank Governor Cuomo for his support and guidance in helping Con Edison and the leadership of UWUA Local 1-2 reach a tentative agreement that is fair and equitable for our employees and customers,” Con Ed said in a statement.  “We look forward to our union employees returning to work. We appreciate the efforts of everyone involved in the talks to reach this agreement.”

All electrical operations workers are to head to work immediately, the union’s website said, with all other employees to return for their next regular shift.

Electric operations workers were to return to work to assist with potential power restoration resulting from approaching storms before the deal was reached.

“Our people are certainly not going to let down New York City if there is an emergency,” said John Melia, spokesperson for Local 1-2.

But now any problems that arise during the potentially dangerous storms will have a fully staffed Con Ed to handle them.

Approximately 8,500 workers have been locked out since the beginning of July. Over that time, 5,000 management personnel have maintained the system.

 

Severe thunderstorm watch issued in Queens


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Severe thunderstorms currently over New Jersey are expected to strike Queens in the late afternoon.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a severe thunderstorm watch for the area with damaging winds and hail possible.

The borough last week dealt with an intense storm that knocked out power to thousands of residents while knocking down branches throughout Queens.

Rain is forecasted to begin falling at about 3 p.m. The watch will remain in effect until 11 p.m.

 

More than 2,500 Queens residents without power


| brennison@queenscourier.com

File photo

More than 2,000 Queens residents are without power thanks to a powerful storm that swept through the area with high winds, rain and hail.

Downed power lines have knocked out electricity for approximately 1,000 Con Edison customers in both Fresh Meadows and Middle Village.

A spokesperson for the company said overhead wires are susceptible to braches, rain and hail during thunderstorms.

Con Ed workers are currently at the scene.

The company estimated the power will be restored in these areas by approximately 3 a.m.

Outages of this sort are easier to restore than infrastructure problems, the spokesperson said.

These are not the only areas experiencing problems from the storm; nearly 500 residents in Maspeth are without power along with 50 in Clearview.

Other outages are scattered throughout the borough.

 

Severe storm warning issued for Queens; Quarter-sized hail expected


| jlane@queenscourier.com

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The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Queens this afternoon. The NWS reported that the storm may produce quarter sized hail and winds in excess of 60 mph.

Heavy lightning is also expected with the storm. The potentially dangerous conditions have led the NWS to advise residents to stay indoors until the storm passes.

Heavy rain – one and a half inches per hour – may accompany the storm causing possible coastal flooding.