As Hurricane Sandy continues to pummel Cuba and move through the Bahamas, officials in the city are keeping a close watch on its path and have begun activating preparation efforts with models suggesting the storm could bring in high winds, heavy rains and coastal flooding. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
As of Thursday, city officials were keeping a close eye on Hurricane Sandy that could be barreling down on the city next early next week.
Storm preparations are already in motion, though officials are, at the same time, preaching calm.
“There’s no reason to panic,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Panic, no. Prepare, yes. With Hurricane Sandy having gained strength and currently battering the Caribbean, the city has activated its emergency response apparatus. It has opened its Office of Emergency Management situation room.
Last year, during Hurricane Irene, the city ordered the evacuations of 370,000 people and shut down the subway system. This time around, the forecast is still unsettled.
“We don’t know when or if or where the storm’s going to hit,” Mayor Bloomberg.
Right now, the storm is moving north into the Atlantic. By Monday, it’s expected to veer back towards shore and could make landfall somewhere between Delaware and Maine, though it’s too soon to tell where exactly.
“If this storm merges with another storm coming from the Ohio Valley, it has the potential to give you real weird weather, like snow and a lot of rain and high winds,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “On the other hand, it might just go out to sea.”
Forecasters said we can expect heavy rains and wind and possibly some coastal flooding on Monday and Tuesday. There’s a chance the storm could be even more severe as it meets forces with a second weather system.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo also directed state officials to monitor the storm. He said Thursday that Irene had a profound effect on him, as he got to see the state’s emergency response mechanism function and not always smoothly.
“We have a lot of work to do in systems and coordination and equipment,” Cuomo said.
The message, for now, is to be prepared and stay tuned. Another round of evacuations are not out of the question.
For more information on the city's storm preparations, visit nyc.gov/oem.