12:11 pm Oct. 28, 2012
"We just want people out of Zone A," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg today, ordering a mandatory evacuation of the city's coastal and low-lying areas.
Zone A neighborhoods include, among others, Coney Island, Manhattan Beach, Red Hook, the Rockaways, Hamilton Beach, Broad Channel, the Staten Island coastline, Battery Park City, City Island, and parts of Throgs Neck, the South Bronx, the Lower East Side and the East Village.
(New Yorkers can find out what zone they live in, and whether they're being evacuated, by visiting the city's website or calling 311.)
Today, the M.T.A. also announced that it would be suspending subway service starting at 7 p.m., and bus service starting at 9 p.m.
The evacuation order is in effect at 7 p.m., so the mayor recommended that the 375,000 people who live in Zone A head out this afternoon.
Police officers will be riding through those neighborhoods today in cars equipped with loudspeakers to warn residents to leave, and city officials are knocking on public housing doors.
City parks and marinas will close at 5 p.m. today. And schools will be closed tomorrow. Street-cleaning and parking meter rules will be suspended tomorrow.
The storm surge, which the mayor had said is the city's principal concern, is now expected to measure between six and 11 feet, which is a few feet higher than yesterday's predictions. In the 26 New York City housing projects in Zone A, elevator service will stop at 7 p.m.
New York Downtown Hospital, which has no backup power facilities, is being evacuated. There are now 72 wheelchair-accessible, pet-friendly hurricane shelters set up in city schools.
The mayor urged New Yorkers to stay indoors starting tonight, close their drapes, stay away from windows and out of elevators, and, basically, hunker down.
"Tomorrow you're gonna wake up and the weather's gonna be a lot worse," said a hoarse-voiced Bloomberg today. "A lot of rain, a lot of wind, and it all should clear out by Tuesday."
More by this author:
- Albany's unlikely marijuana legalization champion sees interest, but no movement yet
- Bloomberg pans a Cuomo-backed answer to Albany corruption