The Holland and Hugh Carey (formerly the Brooklyn Battery) tunnels will be closed effective at 2:00 PM, as Hurricane Sandy moves into the New York area, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced.
Hurricane Sandy has not yet hit with its full power – the peak storm surge is expected two hours before and after 8 pm depending upon location, when winds could also blast at 80 mph – but already is being viewed as more damaging than Hurricane Irene, with New York’s low-lying areas already being swamped; it has the potential to exceed even the 1938 hurricane that devastated Long Island.
Specific actions taken by the New York State at the Governor’s direction to militate against flooding and potential surges include:
Bridge Closures in the Event Wind Speeds Reach 60 MPH:
In the event that wind speeds reach 60 MPH, the following bridges will be closed:
Robert F. Kennedy Bridge
Throgs Neck Bridge
Henry Hudson Bridge
Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge
Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge
George Washington Bridge
Drivers should note that speeds will be restricted to 25 mph once winds reach 30 mph and access by trailers, motorcycles, vans, mini buses, and vehicles with unstable cargo will be prohibited when winds reach 50 mph. Some bridge restrictions are already in place.
Steps to Address Power Outages
Department of Public Service (DPS) and the Long Island Power Authority are currently stationed at the State Emergency Management Office. The State’s electric utilities have secured over 1,070 external trained crews so far, of which approximately 399 are line crews. The crews have been secured from many states, including Texas, Arkansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Michigan, California, Oklahoma, and Illinois.
In total, approximately 1,352 line crews statewide are currently available. In addition, over 845 damage assessors are available to survey the impact of the storm.
The utilities have also been increasing customer outreach and communications with public officials.
Preparation by Power Utilities for Storm Surge :
Long Island Substations
LIPA and National Grid are taking actions to protect low lying substations, each of which may serve thousands of customers, which could be severely damaged if inundated with salt water. The substations that were identified as having greatest risk of surge water impact were in southwestern Nassau County and also southeastern Suffolk County. LIPA and National Grid have sandbagged those stations to protect the electrical equipment. LIPA and National Grid have pumps deployed to the vulnerable substations.
Con Ed Steam and Electric Systems
Much of Con Ed’s electric, gas and steam system is underground. To protect the steam system from damage that could be caused by cold water coming into contact with the steam pipes, Con Ed is preemptively shutting down its steam system in flood zones. Con Ed is also preparing for the potential shutdown of two Lower Manhattan electrical networks, and depending on the flood levels, possibly networks in Brooklyn, Queens and other parts of several networks in Manhattan. This action will be taken if those networks begin to flood because it will be faster to restore power if the facilities are de-energized before the flooding.
National Grid Gas System (Queens, Brooklyn, Long Island)
Given the strong possibility for flooding in low-lying coastal areas, gas distribution systems are vulnerable to damage. National Grid has accelerated patrols of flood prone areas in NYC and LI and has taken 12 regulator stations — in the low lying areas — out of service. To compensate, they have slightly increased the pressure in other nearby stations.
New Yorkers are urged to call their local utility to report power outages and downed power lines. If you have a gas leak or other gas emergency, you should leave your premises immediately and then call your local utility or 911. Contact information for the State’s major utilities is provided below:
LIPA: 1-800-490-0075, or go to www.lipower.org.
National Grid (Upstate Electricity): 1-800-867-5222
National Grid (Upstate Gas): 1-800-892-2345
National Grid (Metro Area Gas): 1-718-643-4050
National Grid (Long Island Gas): 1-800-490-0045
Con Ed: 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633), or go to www.coned.com.
Orange & Rockland: 1-877-434-4100, or go to www.oru.com
NYSEG (Electricity): 1-800-572-1131, or go to www.nyseg.com
NYSEG (Gas): 1-800-572-1121
RG&E (Electricity): 1-800-743-1701, or go to www.rge.com
RG&E (Gas): 1-800-743-1702
Central Hudson: 1-845-452-2700 or 1-800-527-2714, or go to www.centralhudson.com
Additional Pumps at WTC site:
A major surge in Lower Manhattan could potentially lead to significant power outages and possible electrical fires, and the prevalence of pumps can be a key mitigation tool to respond to flooding.
Currently, there are approximately 30 strategically located permanent pumps around the WTC site that are in place to pump out ground and storm water. In addition there are an estimated 50 temporary pumps located in construction areas where water may accumulate, and are in place to pump water out to the city sewer system.
The state has also requested FEMA and the Army Corp of Engineers to deploy as necessary hundreds of additional large scale generators and pumps to low-lying areas including Lower Manhattan.
Governor Deploys NY Naval Militia and Additional 1,000 NY National Guard Troops to assist with potential storm surge:
The Governor today deployed the New York Naval Militia’s Military Emergency Boat Service, in addition to 1,000 additional New York Army and Air National Guard troops, to assist with potential surge.
The boats will be positioned strategically to provide critical support to mitigation efforts. The boats include:
· PB440 Class Patrol Boat: Moose Boats M1-44 Catamaran (44 ft LOA)
· PB400 Class Patrol Boat: MetalCraft Marine Kingston 40 SAR (44 ft LOA)
· PB300 Class Patrol Boat: Nigel Gee Patrol Catamaran (34 ft LOA)
· PB280 Class Patrol Boat: ALMAR Sounder (34 ft LOA)
· PB220 Class Patrol Boat: MetalCraft Marine KingFisher 22 Hardtop (26 ft LOA)
· PB230 Class Patrol Boat: Aluminum Chambered Boats DV-R (25 ft LOA)
The Governor also today announced the following additional state actions:
Unified Police Command:
The Governor today announced a Statewide Unified Police Command, to be led by State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico, which will provide central, coordinated oversight for all of the state’s law enforcement units’ response to Hurricane Sandy.
The Governor today signed an Executive Order establishing the Unified Command.
The Unified Command will place state law enforcement units under central oversight, including units of the Department of Environmental Conservation, State University of New York, and Department of Parks and Historic Preservation authorities.
Governor Cuomo today also established a joint state-federal Surge Response Task Force to oversee flood mitigation efforts, as well as coordinate and lead the state’s response to coastal surges during Hurricane Sandy.
The Task Force will be a joint state-federal effort in coordination with the City, led by Howard Glaser, Director of State Operations, and Jerome Hauer, Commissioner of the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.
The Governor today visited the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan with the Task Force to inspect the mitigation infrastructure that is in place to guard against coastal surges.
“As Hurricane Sandy hits New York State, bringing potentially catastrophic flooding as well as coastal surges that could cause serious destruction, we must take all steps necessary to effectively and forcefully respond and protect New Yorkers,” Governor Cuomo said. “Flooding in our coastal areas, particularly Lower Manhattan which at its lowest is just a few feet above sea level, has the potential to cause widespread damage, and the Task Force announced today will help the state properly marshal our resources and take rapid action. We have been coordinating on all levels—state, local, and federal—to mobilize all available resources in preparation for this storm. As New Yorkers, we will always do what we do best, coming together as one community during tough times. I want to remind all New Yorkers to do all they can to stay safe during this storm.”