Hurricane Irene: Can you swim, New York?
Better make sure you own some pretty tall rain boots, New Yorkers.
Meteorologists at the National Weather Service said Hurricane Irene could be the worst storm the city has seen in 20 years. With the foot of rain it’s expected to bring, experts are bracing for both flooding and ocean surges.
According to the above map of hurricane evacuation zones, created by the city, the entire perimeter of Lower Manhattan is at the greatest risk for flooding. The most at-risk areas — Zone A — stretch from the waterfront to Hudson Street on the west and from the East River to Pearl Street on the east.
Further inland, parts of SoHo, Stuyvesant Town and Chelsea could flood during a Category 2 (and higher) hurricane. Roosevelt Island and Long Island City are also at risk. Experts now predict Hurricane Irene will be a Category 1 storm when it hits.
The under-construction World Trade Center memorial site, set for its grand opening only weeks away, sits in the zone that faces the highest risk of flooding, according to the map.
The NYPD has several helicopters and 33 police boats ready to help in case water strands people in their homes, said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.