Mayor Bloomberg has cast aside the comfort-inducing sweaters he wore over the weekend in favor of a serious business suit to give the latest updates on Hurricane Sandy, and all the effects of the Frankenstorm, today. Watch the press conference from the Office Of Emergency Management below (which should be starting around 5:30 p.m.), and try to take your mind off the fact we're now one step closer to Escape From New York.
Update: Bloomberg stressed how dangerous it is outside right now, and said that New York City would be in for the worst of the storm in the next couple hours. "I think we can expect more flooding and outages. The most severe part of the storm is now beginning," he said. "The worst is about to hit. I think we've done all we can to prepare...The most important thing I can say is, if you're in your home or somewhere safe, stay there. Time for relocation or evacuation is over. Conditions outside are dangerous, and they're only going to get worse in the hours ahead."
Bloomberg noted that the storm surge is expected to peak at 8:15 p.m. ET. In the Battery, in the Rockaways and on Staten Island, the surge will be highest between 6:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. tonight, and in parts of the city that are on the Long Island Sound, the peak surge will be between 10 p.m. today and 2 a.m. tomorrow morning. He warned people to stay inside, avoid using elevators and stay away from windows, because the
"storm is moving at a faster pace than had been predicted...city is still very much within the danger zone."
Bloomberg also implored people to not call 911 for downed trees or flooding, telling them they should call 311 or text 311692 for that, and only call 911 if you're "really in trouble." So far, only one person has been injured during the storm—a jogger who was struck by a falling limb near Prospect Park; she is going to be okay though). Two people were given summonses for surfing as well (Ray Kelly noted that they refused to come out of the water at first).
While he implored people to "try to relax and spend the night in," he reiterated that the "city is open for business," and all city employees are expected to come to work tomorrow ("provided they can do that safely"). Public schools and city parks will be closed tomorrow, but sanitation crews will be working at 7 a.m. to collect debris: "don't put out garbage tonight, but wait till the storm has passed."
"We have a recovery plan in place once the worst of storm is past," Bloomberg said. "It's as bad a storm as we have seen modern day. The difference is, today we're prepared for it. In the olden days, you would have had lots of fatalities. We're not through this yet, but so far all the procedures we've had in place [have worked]...I think we're probably better prepared than we've ever been before." He added that he expects damage to be "relatively minor," but the winds will remain high and it will still be dangerous outside Tuesday morning.