NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Several areas across the Tri-State Area issued mandatory evacuation orders Tuesday ahead of Wednesday’s Nor’easter.
Hundreds of nursing home patients in Rockaway Park, Queens, were being moved to safety. It was the same scenario for some residents in Brick Township, N.J.
The storm will start around 9 a.m. Wednesday and will be heaviest around 5 p.m. before it ends Thursday morning, CBS 2’s Lonnie Quinn said.
Here is what Quinn said he expects to generally happen in the Tri-State Area:
Rain: 0.5 to 1 inch
Snow: NYC: Dusting to 2 inches | West and north of NYC: 2 to 5 inches
Wind: NYC: 45 mph gusts | Long Island and New Jersey Shore 60 mph gusts
Surge: 3 to 4 feet, but not as dramatic as Sandy
A winter weather advisory was placed into effect for Wednesday through the night, for areas from Orange County, N.Y., south through most of inland New Jersey.
CBS 2’s Quinn said inland flooding is unlikely with this storm, while residents could expect to see slick roads and bridges because of the snow. Also, the wind could lead to spotty power outages and the storm surge could result in minor flooding of compromised shorelines.
White Plains could get about 4 inches of snow, while Newburgh, N.Y. and Somerville, N.J. could see 5 and 6 inches, respectively.
The most serious problem with the impending Nor’easter, Quinn said, is that it is coming on top of the damage already wrought by Superstorm Sandy.
“Everything has been compromised around here – not just trees and the trees’ roots, but structures are weaker now in the wake of Sandy,” he said on the CBS 2 News at 5 p.m.
The nursing homes that were ordered evacuated in Rockaway Park were a scene of chaos and disorientation Tuesday evening, reported CBS 2’s Amy Dardashtian.
Close to 200 patients were being evacuated at the Park Nursing Home on Beach 115th Street. The evacuation was sparked by the concern that the Nor’easter could knock out the generator that had been helping the facility run since Superstorm Sandy.
Buses were lined up outside.
Inside the nursing home, the hallways and lobbies were crowded with people in wheelchairs, many of them disoriented and asking why they couldn’t go back upstairs.
City officials essentially called nursing homes on Long Island, in Westchester and New York City and asking how many patients they could take from the affected nursing homes. As they waited for answers, the patients sat in their wheelchairs with their medical charts and their medications in their laps.
The situation was expected to create nightmares for transportation and billing, and sent a lot of the patients very far from their concerned family members.
The situation was similar last Tuesday. Many of the nursing home facilities that were not evacuated prior to Sandy had to be evacuated in the emergency, and people were sent very far.
The Office of Emergency Management wanted to avoid a similar emergency evacuation situation, and thus ordered the evacuation at the Park nursing home, as well as that of 160 patients at the Peninsula Nursing Home on Beach Channel Drive.
Meanwhile, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the city was closing all parks, playgrounds and beaches from noon Wednesday until noon Thursday as the nor’easter bears down.
“We could have some snow on the ground and certainly some snow on the trees. That makes trees who already have their base flooded more likely to fall over, and that’s something that we’re really going to worry about,” Bloomberg said, adding strong winds are also a threat.
There are no mandatory evacuation orders in effect for New York City but officials have warned residents in the lowest-lying areas like the Rockaways and the south shore of Staten Island about the storm.
WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reports
“Beginning today and continuing tomorrow, police officers will make announcements over patrol car loudspeakers in some areas flooded by Hurricane Sandy that are close to the shore line and most vulnerable to further flooding. This is being done to ensure that people who are elderly or home-bound or who have infants are safe and encourage them to go someplace warm,” Bloomberg said.
He also said volunteers will be going to hard hit areas of the city that are still without power to urge people to go to shelters ahead of the storm.
Storm surges along the coasts of New Jersey and New York Wednesday afternoon are expected to reach perhaps 3 feet.
WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reports
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie warned Tuesday that high winds may mean some residents who regained power will lose it again, and the wind could also slow efforts to restore power. There is “nothing we can do to stop the storms,” he said
As forecasters continue to keep an eye on the storm, residents in coastal and flood-prone areas are deciding whether to evacuate or ride it out.
In New Jersey, officials instituted a mandatory evacuation order for low-lying waterfront areas of the town of Brick by 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Anyone whose home does not fall under the mandatory evacuation but sustained damage in Sandy was also encouraged to evacuate.
WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs reports
On Long Island, some have decided to stay and not leave their homes that were flooded last week.
“We are staying for the animals,” one Lindenhurst resident said. “We have two dogs a cat and a bird. We are trying to all hunker down.”
“I’m not leaving this time, I’m going to stay,” said a resident in Freeport. “The damage is done. There’s nothing else the storm can do to me.”
Officials in Babylon said that a complete clean up would not be possible ahead of the storm, but that a full scale effort was underway.
“There’s no humanly possible way to pick up the amounts of debris from Sandy, we are doing the best we can,” said Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Shaffer.
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