For the first time in history NYC, has some part of the city evacuating because of a hurricane. I recommend checking to see if you live in Zone A. Regrettably, whomever designed this map failed consider how a color blind person might interpret the colors.
If you do live in Zone A, you are probably asking yourself: Do I have to evacuate? Why do I have to evacuate? How am I going to get out of here? Where do I go? What about my apartment/home?
So, should you actually evacuate? Of course! DO IT, DO IT NOW! It’s important to get out of these areas because it’s a silly risk. The reason these areas are at risk, especially Battery Park, is because of how low lying they are. These “flood zone” areas are prone to storm surge. Storm surge is basically a build up of water created by the powerful circulation of a hurricane. The stronger and larger the storm, the worse the effect. The “surge” temporarily raises the sea level and water covers areas where normally there is land.
Battery Park and any of its surrounding areas pose the biggest risk in Manhattan because they’re man made. Remember, way back in the day Manhattan ended at around Bowling Green/Wall Street area. The rest is man made build up–making Battery Park a prime flooding zone.
Wind is also going to be a serious concern in the city–the wind effect in the city is my biggest concern. If we do see sustained 50-60 MPH winds the skyscrapers and other various office buildings could lose windows and lots of them. Windows generally can hold up through gusts pretty easily, but a hurricane, especially one the size of Irene, and its unrelenting wind, can make anything vulnerable. Remember too, the higher up in the sky, the worse the affect of the wind!
Within the higher areas of the city I don’t think flooding will be a concern; however, it will be interesting to see how the city’s infrastructure, particularly the outer boroughs, handles 8 or more inches of rain. In New Jersey and on Long Island, localized flooding could be a huge probable because the ground is already completely saturated.
So you want to evacuate, now what? Call friends in the city who are not in an evacuation zone and stay with them. If you want to be as safe as possible, stay with a friend who lives on the 2nd or higher floor of a walkup in the UWS. Get ready to leave today and stay through late sunday because the subway and all mass transit is closing! If you are driving out of the city, be patient, evacuation traffic is horrendous.
Preparing your apartment is important too. I’d recommend unplugging everything, taking important articles with you (passport, lease agreement, backup hard drive(s)). If you live in a non-walkup, on a high floor and have windows please duct tape your windows. You should do this anyway, but it will be more important in non walkups. It won’t do anything to prevent the window from breaking, but it can help prevent the glass from shattering. If you want to be truly safe, ask your super if you can board up the inside of your windows, unless you know Spiderman and he can do it on the outside.
Irene isn’t going to cause the apocalyptic destruction in the city as Katrina caused in NOLA, but please take all of this seriously. Luckily I am not in an evacuation zone, but I don’t plan on setting foot outside after 10 PM on Saturday, well, if I don’t run out of beer.