New York City Battens Down The Hatches As Irene Begins Her Run Up Coast

Latest: 75-90 MPH Winds, 7-10 Inches Of Rain Possible In Big Apple

Updated at 12:33 a.m., Aug. 26, 2011

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Hurricane Irene is packing a powerful punch and Mayor Michael Bloomberg says to “prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”

As the East Coast hunkers down, the Category 3 storm battered and bruised the Bahamas with heavy winds and rain. Widespread damage has been reported.  Also Thursday night in Florida, authorities said the rough ocean churned up by Irene’s outer bands left eight people injured in Palm Beach County.

On Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency in New York to assist local governments “more effectively and quickly.”

More: Track Irene’s Path | Hurricane Resources | Evac Zone Finder


CBS 2’s Lonnie Quinn said the strongest rain and heaviest winds are expected to hit the area from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.  Quinn expects the storm to be downgraded to Category 1 when it reaches New York City.

Irene is expected to bring winds of 75-90 mph and about 7 to 10 inches of rain to the city.  Further north, the winds are expected to be between 55 and 75 mph, bringing about 4 to 7 inches of rain.


Residents can expect to face the possibility of downed trees, power outages, broken windows and roof damage.

Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene (credit: AP/NOAA)

Urban Planner and architect Lance Jay Brown said contrary to what you might think, a scaffold or sidewalk built to code should hold.

Brown said air-conditioning units would stick in place, but the greatest dangers would come from broken glass.

Windows most likely to shatter would be from 10th floors and above. Flying awnings and signs and things residents leave loose on rooftops and terrace furniture could also pose significant dangers, CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported.


Speaking at a news conference early Thursday evening, Bloomberg said that the latest models appear to show New York City will be impacted in the “early hours of Sunday morning,” and that it would be a “Category 1 storm” when it hits the city.  He added that despite those predictions, the storm was still a “long time away in meteorological terms.” In fact, as of 11 p.m. Irene was approximately 900 miles away from the Big Apple.

1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports: Bloomberg Braces For The Worst

Having been bamboozled by the Christmas blizzard, the mayor wants to make sure he isn’t inundated by Irene, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported.


The mayor also said that senior citizen homes, nursing homes and hospitals in low-lying areas “must evacuate” by 8 p.m. Friday unless they are able to show that their location or provisions for back-up power would allow them to stay safe.

If those facilities choose not to evacuate, Bloomberg said they would need to coordinate their decisions in conjunction with city Health Commissioner Thomas Farley.

Coney Island Hospital already started moving patients to vacant beds at medical centers on higher ground Thursday night.

NYU Hospitals Center, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Staten Island University South and Staten Island University North are the other hospitals located in “Zone A,” according to the New York City Office of Emergency Management.

Bloomberg also said the city’s emergency response teams are ready, but advised people living in low-lying areas that may face evacuation to take some additional steps.

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb With Mayor Bloomberg: He’s Prepared To Order Evacuations

“Now is a very good time to check in with your friends and family in other parts of the city and identify other places you might stay,” Bloomberg said. “Start moving your stuff upstairs, start taking precautions now, if it gets to that.”

Bloomberg said it wasn’t yet clear whether the city would ask — or demand — residents to evacuate.

“The worst case if they didn’t leave and we ordered them — they could die,” Bloomberg said. “The only reason you issue something like that is because you think people’s lives are in jeopardy.”

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell: Evacuation Plans In The Rockaways

Bloomberg urged area residents to avoid swimming when the beaches are closed, calling it the “most dangerous thing” New Yorkers could do.


The NYPD is readying its fleet of 50 14-foot-long rescue boats just in case things get really bad.

“We call them John Boats,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said on Thursday. “They’re in the process of being distributed now to basically precinct commands in the low-lying areas.”

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond With NYC’s Top Cop

Those areas include neighborhoods in the city’s Zone A, which include Coney Island and Far Rockaway, parts of Staten Island and Battery Park City. Businesses along the Coney Island boardwalk already began mobilizing Thursday, protecting their locations with sandbags and raising their inventory to higher ground.

Highway units will be stationed on flood-prone routes, such as the FDR Drive, prior to the storm’s arrival.

Click here to learn more about how you should prepare for the storm.

Bloomberg has also revoked all permits for outdoor events on Sunday.  Saturday permits for Zone A neighborhoods, which include Battery Park City, Coney Island and Far Rockaway, must end by 2 p.m.

1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports: Coney Island Gets Ready For Irene

Are you concerned about Hurricane Irene? Sound off in our comments section.

  • Lawn-Guy Land

    “The worst case if they didn’t leave and we ordered them — they could die,” Bloomberg said.

    From a purely legal point of view, evacuation orders are unenforceable and thus totally irrelevant. Not only can the City NOT actually force anybody to leave, but the people who refuse to leave can still sue the City later for not forcing them to leave.

  • JFK

    For more on survival and preparation in time of Natural Disaster see New article here:



  • TomNJ

    The storm must be Obama’s fault – this did not happen when Bush was in office.

    • KPMc

      Actually…. while George was in office I count at least 10 hurricanes that affected NYC and the metro area and at least 5 tropical storms.

      Now maybe this one will be more powerful than the others but maybe that’s because O is much more virile and stronger than the overgrown college punk Alfred E. Neuman lookalike.

      Seriously… I like George but every time someone says something stupid like that I can’t resist proving them wrong and tweaking them a little.

      • Jane Louise Smith

        Amen, KPMc. Besides, everyone KNOWS that this week’s earthquake was because D.C. sits on the Bush’s Fault line. Hurricanes, i think, are an Al Gore creation due to global cooling/warming/man-caused-climate-change/biodiversity, right? Thank you. ~~ Jane Louise Smith, Founder & CEO, 8/23-8/26 East Coast Natural Disaster Victims’ Relief Fund & Memorial Foundation for Nature’s Human Martyrs, Their Survivors, and Their Pets, Inc., LLC. 503(c)17[iii.]2{L}

  • scir91onYouTube

    here’s hoping irene does tremendous damage. i, for one, will then boast of how owning property, either a car or your own home, SUX! renting rules! besides, all that damage will help the construction sector which needs a boost due to lagging sales of new homes. and my CAT stock in the ol’ portfolio needs a boost after all. irene, let ‘er ripppppppppppppppp!

  • Jan

    lol, get a small tremor, and a little blow, not the Least Coast think they’ve “arrived”. Awesome.

  • Pole sitter

    More OT for me and my firefighter brothers

    • KPMc

      Thats good but be careful because your job is dangerous and it could get pretty scary this weekend. Not everyone can do a job like that and sacrifice their well-being to help others but most of us NYers appreciate it. It truly is a skill beyond description and you deserve whatever compensation we can afford to give you.

      Oh you were just being sarcastic because you’re a whining b!tch that begrudges others even when they are there to help you? Oh well.

  • bklyn

    Same-sex marriage,an earthquake, a hurricane, coincidence??Gods not happy

    • JFK

      You got that right brother.Judgement.

    • Jessica Beland

      If the god you believe in would hurt millions of people because they support two people minding their own business and loving each other and just wanting to have the same rights as everyone else because they love each other, I have to wonder what “god” you believe in.

      • Jane Louise Smith

        “Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.” ~~ Thomas Jefferson

      • pat

        The same GOD who flooded the earth because most of the people were nephilim, wicked and worshiped false gods. The same GOD who said when man and woman come together in marriage the two become one flesh in the spirit – they pro-create – GOD is a GOD of creation therefore this brings glory onto him.

    • patricia

      You are right. It’s like its purposely by passing land and heading straight for us. Same-sex marriage can NEVER pro-create together which deems it anti-creation. GOD is a GOD of creation. No matter what the money hungry scientist and politicians do, the human race will always be created via Heterosexual conception.

      • KPMc

        “the human race will always be created via Heterosexual conception.”

        And that’s exactly how it will be destroyed too.. By irresponsible overpopulation, depletion of it’s natural resources and the inability for so many people to live together peaceably on a small planet.

        But take heart zealots. You can always use your selfish short-sighted beliefs to blame the gays and keep you from taking any responsibility.

    • KPMc

      “Same-sex marriage,an earthquake, a hurricane, coincidence??Gods not happy”

      Which Gods do you speak of? Zeus? Apollo? Greek Gods or their Roman counterparts?

      So every natural disaster or bit of severe weather is due to your creator’s wrath?

      I thought zealots blamed bad things on the Devil while God was all sunshine and forgiveness.

    • midi-man

      I agree , yeap revelations. he is not happy.

  • All Hazards

    There’s an aggregate page with web resources for Irene including social media, maps, and twitter tools at

  • joe perkins

    one again I tune into 880 for the latest……….and there is a baseball game on! why dont you put the sports on WFAN and keep newsradio88 clear for NEWS!

    • Michael H.

      Just tune into 1010. Even better, tune into 93.9FM or 820AM

    • Keep

      Joe is a jerk

  • Ellen

    Have faith in God, be prepared for this hurricane , and finally try to enjoy this by not only staking up on plenty of food, milk, batteries, and so forth, but plenty of red wine, candles, and red velvet cup cakes. Just take it easy and relax.

    • William

      Sounds like a plan!! :)

    • Chaz Surette

      This made me smile in a time when I’m worrying :) I would say go out and enjoy yourselves before Sunday.

  • Mary O

    If you live in an evacuation zone, MAKE ARRANGEMENTS FOR YOUR PETS. You cannot bring them into shelters, as they are prohibited due to health and safety concerns.

  • shaleeng

    Christina, Good preparation! Imagine no power for 6 weeks? Been there here in metro south FL. Problem with these storms is where they will hit nobody knows. This is a huge storm and everybody should assure their survival for at least a week. FEMA will not be there. Roads may flood, stores closed, nowhere to go. Hope that does not happen to you but it might.

    • Jane Louise Smith

      If someone is dependent upon the government for anything other than military protection, then you’re S. out of luck. Americans need to become more self-sufficient, and, generally speaking, Americans need to plan ahead, stockpile emergency food/water/supplies, and be ready to lend a helping hand to their neighbors in need. Tell FEMA trucks to turn around because they’re not needed — why? Because there are thousands of Americans helping their American neighbors in needs — now THERE’S an idea that isn’t being discussed or promoted!

  • Mary

    real scared I live in staten is by the water :-( flooded from the one in 1992 and 1993 nor easter

  • Anthony Pepe

    meh, its wind and rain. bring it on

  • Junior

    Will not be walking the streets of Manhattan. Fearing blown out windows falling to the streets, loose scaffolding falling, older buildings collapsing.

    Speaking of scaffolding…any plans to move the cranes away from the WTC site…put them in parking garages, somewhere underground perhaps?? I hope so!

    This has been one insane week..Earthquakes and Hurricanes, what the – – -???



  • JFK

    Also, you can come to Rockaway and surf in the Hurricane on the beach. It’s legal.

  • What is world coming to

    Wow we had record setting snow a tornado then a earthquake and now a hurricane . We are doomed.

    • sam


      • pat

        where was I when NYC had a record setting tornado? I live in the Rockaways. My family and I are out of here by Saturday morning. After this I’m convinced 2012 will be hell.

  • Surfin Bird

    call 911

  • Lifeguard Mitch Buchanan

    right now somewhere in New York someone is at work going about they’re daily routine unaware that these are his or her last days because they will go swimming or surfing in the ocean this weekend and drown. The forums and papers will read they were so full of life and good people but will not mention their exceptional stupidity. watch!

  • Amber

    Heard some women talking in the office bathroom today after hearing thunder outside
    #1: Is it raining?
    #2: Yeah and it’s supposed to do it all weekend
    #1: We’re getting rain this weekend
    #2: I think it’s some rain from that hurricane
    #1: Oh yeah, they said something about that.
    I’m in the stall thinking we’re not getting some rain from Irene, we’re getting Irene. Seriously do people never watch news or weather anymore or does NY/NJ get these so rarely that people hear hurricane and think it’s just down south. I’m sure these two will be the first to act surprised when their basements fill with water or wonder why they don’t have any batteries when the power goes out.

    • KPMc

      Oh… but they can still blame the Mayor, Governor or President. Which ever they prefer over personal responsibility. I mean if something goes wrong it MUST be the governments fault because we can’t be expected to do anything without someone holding our hand.

      • Jane Louise Smith

        Too much government dependency leads to voluntary slavery. Personal responsibility is where it’s at.

  • jamesb

    – fill up your bathtub with water for flushing the toilet
    – get cash from the ATM
    – get your bills paid early
    – do your laundry
    – have a cooler filled up with ice
    – if it looks like the power will be out for a while, empty the fridge before it rots- you will never get the smell out otherwise

    • Christina Roth-Lorusso

      excellent advice!! If people would do this, it would be a big help WHEN Irene gets here! It would all of 30 minutes to do!!!! I’m ready here in nassau county..One more thing, fill up your car with gas…pumps don’t work when the powers out!

  • Nick

    Yeah this is not good

  • rocky

    Is The Mayor Fleeing the city again to leave his spoke person to be in charge GET MY PLANE READY PLEASE

  • JFK

    Be prepared! For tips on preparing for emergencies can be found here:

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