New York appears to be in the bull's eye of Hurricane Irene. Meteorologists predict it could make landfall on Sunday anywhere from Manhattan to east of Queens. Since this storm is so vast (about 580 miles wide), that won't make much difference.
Who knows what will happen on Sunday. Maybe in the end all we'll get is drizzle and a breeze. But, the city is taking no chances. The Office of Emergency Management has been on overdrive since yesterday. The city issued this evacuation map yesterday.
As you can see, a whole lot of the city could be potentially affected. Zone A, the areas that appear in orange, already have orders to evacuate hospitals and nursing homes today. That's 5 hospitals and 8 retirement homes. The city may order everyone else in Zone A to evacuate at 8AM tomorrow. Michael and I live just one block outside Zone C (in green). Those of you who know New York geography can see that Williamsburg and even more so, Greenpoint, are major flood risks. Also at risk for major flooding is all of Downtown Manhattan below Canal Street. That whole area went underwater the last time the city took a direct hit from a hurricane in 1821. That includes Wall Street and the WTC site.
Police boats and helicopters as well as the Coast Guard are all on standby for rescue missions. The Metropolitan Transit Authority says that the subways could be flooded and knocked out of service into Monday afternoon. If the train yards flood (a real possibility), then they could be out of service indefinitely. Bus service will be inevitably affected by flooding. Manhattan is already a mess since underground parking garages are being evacuated (and those cars are being moved where? I ask). Power and gas could be knocked out as well. Michael and I already have our batteries and flashlights ready. We're still stocking up on food and water.
As I say, maybe in the end it will be just a breezy drizzle. But, in the wake of Katrina, no one is taking chances.
The "quake" here was just an afternoon distraction that gave all the Californians a chuckle at our expense (and deservedly so). This looks like it could be much more serious.