A little more than a week after Hurricane Sandy caused devastation and destruction throughout the five boroughs, the city is gearing up for a Nor'Easter that is due to hit later today. By all accounts, the storm has lost some of its gusto, and won't be anywhere near as bad as Sandy. Nevertheless, it's still expected to bring a frothy mix of rain, snow, high winds, freezing temps and a storm surge—and the city isn't just sitting idly by and holding a pillow over its head.
"It's not a massive nor'easter by winter standards, but at this time of year immediately after Sandy's wrath and destruction, this isn't what we want,” Weather Channel expert Tom Niziol said about the storm. "Mother Nature is not cutting us a break along the East Coast. We've got a lot of cold air in place down in the lower part of the atmosphere, and it is looking more like snowfall event for good portions of New Jersey, up through eastern Pennsylvania, right up through southeastern New York into New England."
The city estimates the storm will affect us from mid-day till tomorrow: "Although only an inch of rain is forecast, sustained winds will reach 25 to 40 miles per hour, with gusts up from 55 to 65 miles per hour," the city summarized in a release. "The wind will cause a storm surge ranging from 3 to 5 feet at high tide Wednesday afternoon, with the highest surge levels forecast for the Western Long Island sound; surge levels are forecast to be slightly lower at high tide Wednesday night."
New York City, Long Island and Westchester County are under a high wind warning from 2 p.m. Wednesday until 4 a.m. Thursday, the National Weather Service said. Over 91K homes and businesses are still without power around the city, and temperatures are expected to drop below the 30s tonight.
So far, Bloomberg has halted all construction, closed all city parks, encouraged drivers to stay off the road after 5:00 p.m., and announced mandatory evacuations of more than 620 people from four health care facilities in the Rockaways. Even though there haven't been any other mandatory evacuations, Bloomberg stressed yesterday that if you live in an extra low-lying part of Zone A, you should really move to higher ground because of the surge. Here's a list of city shelters that are open, and here's a list of pickup locations for buses going to the shelters. You can also look up Red Cross shelters here.
And that's not all! The Department of Environmental Protection have taken a lot of steps to fortify its infrastructure in anticipation of the storm. And if you don't believe them, just read their handy, exhaustively detailed press release below:
The Flash Flood Emergency Plan calls for the inspection and cleaning of catch basins at 250 flood prone locations around the city.
· Since Saturday crews have inspected more than 1,700 catch basins throughout the five boroughs and removed debris that could prevent stormwater from draining. Approximately 1,000 more will be inspected over the next 24 hours.
· Crews are using vactor trucks, large industrial sized vacuums with extendable hoses, to suck out debris that has accumulated in catch basins and sewer lines. In addition, DEP has begun deploying private contractor’s vactor trucks to the field to aid in the preparation work.
· Trucks equipped with extendable grabber arms are removing debris from catch basins.
· Pump trucks are flushing debris from sewer lines.
· The largest sewer lines that feed into wastewater treatment plants are being cleaned to optimize sewer capacity and mitigate backups and flooding.
On Staten Island:
· Using two excavators and a front-end loader, crews have removed over 500 cubic yards of debris that had accumulated in Jefferson Creek and was impeding natural drainage. Repairs have also been completed to a tide gate which keeps seawater from entering the Creek.
· Crews are moving block by block and have cleaned over 100 catch basins and flushed sewer lines.
· A vactor truck is cleaning the large sewer line that feeds the Oakwood Beach Treatment Plant on the south shore to optimize capacity and mitigate back-ups.
· An additional vactor truck is cleaning the sewer line on Midland Avenue from Moreland Avenue to Father Capodano Boulevard.
· Crews continue to clean sewer lines on Hylan Boulevard, focusing on the Jefferson Avenue area that suffered heavy flooding during Hurricane Sandy.
· Crews are also cleaning catch basins on Father Capodano Boulevard from Seaview Avenue to Midland Avenue.
In the Rockaways:
· Sewer infrastructure was inundated with sand and debris and crews are working to clear the lines to allow for proper drainage.
· A vactor truck has been cleaning sewer lines block by block and is at Beach 122nd Street and Newport Avenue today.
· Crews are working with the Department of Sanitation to clear debris from streets and inspect water and sewer infrastructure.
· A survey of the coastline found that five sewer outfall locations were blocked with debris from Hurricane Sandy. The debris is being removed today to mitigate sewer back-ups.
· Crews have repaired 11 fire hydrants that were knocked off their moorings and dug out five that were buried in sand. All remaining hydrants in the Rockaways have been inspected.
· 12 DEP crews are assisting Con Ed by removing downed trees and limbs that have pulled down power lines. Yesterday, 30 trees were removed from a four block stretch of this neighborhood.
· Two vactor trucks are cleaning sewer lines in Seagate today.
· Crews are inspecting and cleaning catch basins in Coney Island, Sheepshead Bay, Gerritsen Beach and Manhattan Beach.
City-Wide Wastewater Treatment Plants:
· Ten of the City’s 14 in-city wastewater treatment plants and more than 40 of the City’s 96 sanitary pumping stations were damaged during Hurricane Sandy. DEP crews and contractors have worked around the clock so that all pumping stations and treatment plants are now operational and are handling all of the city’s wastewater. More than 99% of the wastewater is receiving full secondary treatment and all plants have been restored to their pre-Hurricane Sandy wet weather capacity. Work will continue to prepare the plants for the expected additional flow of stormwater and sandbags are being placed around the plants to protect critical electrical equipment from a storm surge.