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Hurricane Isaias: New York City Preparing For Possible Flooding In South Street Seaport

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) Isaias regained hurricane strength Monday night as it churned its way up the East Coast.

It brought heavy rainfall, lightning and strong winds Monday night. Coastal flooding and power outages were possible.

“The impact appears to be limited in terms of New York City,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday. “But, my friends, we have been surprised before by storms. We’ve been surprised by the way they can change at the last minute. So we’re in a very vigilant state right now.”

Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Deanne Criswell urged residents to come up with an emergency plan for their families and pets.

“In particular for this storm, we want you to stay safe. We want you to prepare for strong winds,” she said. “Strong winds will bring down trees, power lines, and they can turn unsecured objects into flying projectiles.”

WATCH: Mayor De Blasio Discusses Isaias 

Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman and CEO Pat Foye said the Transit Authority is ready, and both rail and bus control centers are monitoring the storm’s progress.

“We’ve inspected track pump locations in order to be able to get water out of the system. On buses, depots and foot-prone areas are getting special focus,” he said.

Long Island Railroad and Metro-North will have around-the-clock maintenance and customer service.

De Blasio also said Lower Manhattan, between Wall and Water streets, will be especially vulnerable to flooding.

TRACKING ISAIAS: Check the latest forecast and weather alerts

OEM deployed sandbags and so-called “Tiger Dams,” or large water-filled tubes, in the South Street Seaport area. The 4-foot barrier spans nearly a mile long.

“The South Street Seaport is one of the lowest lying areas of Manhattan. So this is an area that is susceptible to coastal flooding, including tropical storms,” Assistant Commissioner Heather Roiter said.

Depending on where you stand, the barrier is supposed to protect two blocks inland, CBS2’s Jon Dias reported. Since the barriers come up short of the water levels during Superstorm Sandy, locals hope they actually work.

“This storm appears to have a very localized impact in this area. This is one the area we are particularly concerned about given the projections … and we have the tools to address it,” de Blasio said.

MORE: Closer look at New York City’s flood protection measures

“This doesn’t look like it’s going to do anything,” said Misha Erwitt. “The high water mark is right here from the last time around, and that is quite a bit higher than what that is inflated.”

Crews say the barrier will be complete by Tuesday afternoon, when heavy rainfall is expected to start.

Watch: City Officials Discuss Construction Of Storm Surge Barriers At South Street Seaport

Braulio Bunay, executive chef at Industry Kitchen at the South Street Seaport, told CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez he’s hoping the flood walls won’t be needed.

He’ll optimistically open Tuesday, hoping the storm will be kind to his business and others who’ve already been struggling to stay afloat.

“Lately we see so many storms, so many problems, and especially here in New York City, but we’re very tough in these situations,” Bunay said. “We’re ready for it. We’re ready. We’re New York.”

All city beaches will be closed to swimming Tuesday, but in the outer boroughs, big orange barriers are noticeably absent, CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported Monday night.

“They were showing on TV all the time they have the orange barriers down there and here I guess we are secondary citizens. I don’t know,” said Slava Beylis of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn.

Beylis said she remembers her car getting swept away during Sandy eight years ago, and while Tuesday’s storm isn’t supposed to be nearly as bad, she wishes Brooklyn’s coast got the same special protection as Manhattan’s.

“Basically, nobody cares about here,” Beylis said.

“It’s malpractice to only care about one little part of the city of New York when we have over 500 miles of coastline that is vulnerable to these storms,” City Councilman Justin Brannan said.

The OEM commissioner also said the city will have crews stationed in each of the five boroughs Tuesday to identify problem areas in real time and coordinate resources on scene to quickly respond.

Stick with CBS2, CBSN New York and CBSNewYork.com for the latest on the storm.