In the heart of the Tri-State area, New York City is bracing itself for an impending storm that threatens to bring extended periods of heavy rainfall and widespread flash flooding. As we anticipate this weather event, it’s crucial to stay informed and take necessary precautions. This travel advisory, in effect from Friday until Saturday morning, is your key to navigating the storm safely. Additionally, we will explore the comprehensive preparations being made by local authorities and agencies to ensure your well-being during this challenging time.
NYC Emergency Management: Exercise Caution and Plan Ahead
NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Zach Iscol issues a vital reminder to all New Yorkers: exercise caution during the storm. If travel is unavoidable, consider using public transportation to minimize risks. Allow extra travel time for potential delays, and if driving, avoid flooded roadways at all costs. For residents residing in basement apartments, particularly those in flood-prone areas, be prepared to relocate to higher ground swiftly.
Weather Forecast: What to Expect
The National Weather Service has issued a forecast predicting heavy rainfall ranging from 2 to 4 inches, with the possibility of even higher amounts exceeding 5 inches in certain areas. This forecast emphasizes the severity of the impending storm and the potential for flash flooding.
MTA Takes Proactive Measures
To ensure the safety of commuters, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has taken significant steps to prepare for the impending storm. In collaboration with the Governor’s Office of Emergency Management, MTA has activated its 24-hour situation room, overseeing conditions and responses across all operating agencies.
MTA employees will be strategically positioned throughout the operating region. Their responsibilities include checking flood-prone locations, pre-staging equipment, maintaining the functionality of signals, switches, and third rails, and addressing any weather-related challenges swiftly.
MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber emphasizes the seriousness of the storm, assuring the public that a detailed plan is in place to protect the network and deliver safe service throughout the storm. While there may be impacts on service, MTA’s goal is to maintain service levels across all routes.
Preventing Subway Flooding
One of the most significant concerns during storms in NYC is subway flooding. MTA’s mobile pump trucks are strategically positioned throughout the city, ready to respond if sewer lines cannot drain water from subway stations rapidly enough. These measures aim to prevent a recurrence of the flooding incident that took place two years ago at 157th street when commuters had to navigate waist-deep brown water to catch their downtown 1 train.
Lieber acknowledges that some water infiltration is inevitable due to topography and localized flash flooding. However, MTA is committed to minimizing such incidents. In cases of compromised subway service, buses will be deployed to fill any service gaps, ensuring commuters can reach their destinations.
Governor Hochul’s Urgent Message
New York Governor Kathy Hochul emphasizes the importance of preparedness in the face of potential rainfall and flash flooding in the Hudson Valley, New York City, and Long Island regions. Her administration is fully prepared to respond to extreme weather impacts.
Governor Hochul directs state agencies to prepare response assets and stand ready to assist local partners if necessary. She urges all residents expected to experience heavy rainfall over the next 48 hours to remain vigilant, closely monitor weather forecasts, and heed emergency orders issued by officials when required.
New Jersey’s Storm Preparations
Across the river in New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy echoes the sentiment of preparedness as a slow-moving coastal storm approaches. Parts of Northern and Central New Jersey, especially urban areas and neighborhoods with poor drainage, are expected to face heavy rainfall and localized flash and river flooding.
Murphy directs his team to prepare for the storm, coordinating in advance with county and local officials. He also advises all New Jerseyans to stay informed about local weather updates and refrain from driving or walking through flooded roads.
Hoboken’s Special Parking Rate
In the city of Hoboken, a discounted parking rate of just $5 is being offered at select municipal garages due to the potential for flooding. This special rate, available to residents with valid Resident On-Street Parking Permits or Temporary Parking Permits, applies to Garages B and D. It will be in effect from 8 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30, while space is available. Additionally, residents with disabilities possessing handicapped license plates or hang tags for their permitted vehicles may park in the Midtown Garage for the same reduced rate.
Comprehensive Resources and Operations
Here’s a comprehensive list of information on state and city resources, operations, and safety tips:
New York City Subway and Staten Island Railway: NYC Transit’s Department of Subways has a fleet of emergency response equipment ready to deploy in response to flooding conditions. Field personnel inspect and clean vents and drains at flood-prone locations, ensuring quick responses to flooding conditions.
New York City Buses: MTA personnel monitor routes for known flooding situations and have detours prepared. Extra personnel are on standby in case of service disruptions. All bus facilities are inspected to prevent potential issues.
MTA Bridges and Tunnels: MTA Bridges and Tunnels personnel activate full inclement weather preparedness. Embedded roadway sensors and atmospheric sensors provide real-time information, and restrictions may be imposed if weather conditions warrant.
Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad: Crews are pre-positioned around the system, equipped to respond to weather-related issues. Diesel locomotives are also on standby to minimize service impacts.
Access-A-Ride: Access-A-Ride paratransit continues to provide service. Customers may experience additional delays and wait times, so adjusting travel plans is advisable.
State Agency Preparations
New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services: The State Watch Center monitors weather and travel conditions, ready to respond with personnel and resources as needed.
New York State Department of Transportation: The department is prepared to respond with a substantial workforce and equipment to address storm-related issues.
Thruway Authority: Thruway Authority staff closely monitors the forecast and weather impacts. Equipment and personnel are ready to respond swiftly, ensuring the safety of travelers.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation: DEC staff, including police officers and emergency management personnel, actively patrol areas likely to be impacted by severe weather, with swift water rescue teams positioned for emergency response.
Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation: Park personnel closely monitor weather conditions and impacts, providing updates on park hours and closures to visitors.
Department of Public Service: New York’s utilities have substantial resources available to engage in damage assessment, response, repair, and restoration efforts.
New York State Police: State Police are prepared to deploy additional Troopers to affected areas, with specialized vehicles and emergency power equipment ready for immediate response.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority
MTA is committed to ensuring safe and reliable service during the storm. Elevator and escalator specialists will be deployed to flood-prone locations to address weather-related issues. Customers can check for service updates via the MTA’s apps: MYmta and TrainTime.
Speed restrictions may be in place at bridges, and travelers are encouraged to check directly with carriers and airlines for the latest information on delays and cancellations.
Severe Weather Safety Tips
As New Yorkers prepare for the approaching storm, it’s essential to be aware of severe weather safety tips:
- Develop a Household Disaster Plan: Ensure your family has a plan in place, including an emergency contact and a designated meeting spot.
- Understand Your Area’s Risks: If you live near coastal areas, learn about storm surge history and your community’s warning signals and evacuation plans.
- Secure Your Home: Prepare your home with materials like plywood to secure it properly.
- Review Insurance Policies: Understand the extent of your insurance coverage before the storm hits.
- Stay Informed: Listen to National Weather Service broadcasts on NOAA Weather Radio and stay updated with local television and radio stations.
- Turn Off Utilities: Know how to turn off power, heat, and water in your home.
As the storm approaches, remember that preparedness is key to staying safe. Stay vigilant, stay informed, and heed the advice of local authorities.
This article provides a comprehensive overview of the travel advisory issued for NYC ahead of the storm and the measures being taken by various agencies to ensure your safety during this challenging time.