11:10 p.m. Saturday, August 27
Tornado watch now in effect for New York
Yes, a hurricane bearing down on us is bad enough, but there is now a tornado watch in effect for New York City as well. The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for for the five boroughs, all of Long Island and Rockland and Westchester counties starting over night and through 4 a.m. Sunday.
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Meanwhile, Mayor Bloomberg warned New Yorkers to stay inside tonight.
"This is a storm where if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, it
can be fatal," said Bloomberg at a 9:30 p.m. press conference.
Should power go out in Lower Manhattan, it may take up to three days to restore, Con Ed officials said earlier today. Lower Manhattan is at risk to lose power due to possible storm surge. Already, over 20,000 people have already lost power in Monmouth County, New Jersey alone as the storm began to batter the Jersey Shore. This comes on top of news that the city's subway system will likely not be up and running in time for Monday morning's commute.
Check here for more up-to-the-minute weather reports and warnings for New York City from the National Weather Service.
3:50 p.m. Saturday, August 27
Bloomberg: Time is running out
Mayor Michael Bloomberg just made a last-minute plea for New Yorkers in flood-prone, Zone A
neighborhoods to leave their homes and head to safety on higher ground.
is running out. It’s going to get dark in a little while … If you
haven’t left you should leave now -- not later this evening, not this
afternoon. Immediately,” pleaded the mayor, who just wrapped up a press conference.
Only 1,400 people have checked into the city’s 91 evacuation centers so far, even though the shelters can accommodate up to 70,000 people, said the mayor.
The off- and-on
periods of rain New Yorkers experienced this afternoon are from bands of rain
from Irene as the storm approaches the city.
thunderstorms will hit the city at 4 p.m., and the worst is yet to come,
The strongest winds are expected to start at 9
p.m., said Bloomberg. At that time, tropical storm winds are expected
to hit, with winds at 45 miles per hour. Tonight, it’s very important for
New Yorkers to stay inside, he warned. Flying debris and falling tree
branches can be fatal, as one man was killed in North Carolina this morning by a falling branch.
The worst time for expected flooding will be 8 a.m.
That’s when city officials are expecting
“literally water pouring over the bulkhead,” said Bloomberg.
-- Carly Baldwin
12:45 p.m., Saturday, August 27
Power may be turned off in Lower Manhattan
Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced earlier this morning that Con Edison is considering turning off the power to Battery Park City, a low-lying Zone-A area where residents are under mandatory orders to evacuate as Hurricane Irene bears down on New York City.
Con Ed will decided if they will turn off the power to two Lower Manhattan grids later this afternoon.
"If salt water gets on these cables when they are being used the damage is substantial," the Mayor said in Battery Park City. "There’s a lot less damage to cables if salt water gets on them when they don’t carry any current."
"It’s conceivable downtown Manhattan, for example, there’ll be no electricity as well as a lot of water in the streets," Bloomberg warned, according to the New York Post.
9:45 a.m., Saturday, August 27
Hoboken mayor asks city to clear out; bars to stop serving booze by 8 p.m.; cars banned.
The mayor of Hoboken is advising an entire evacuation of the city. Parts of low-lying Hoboken often flood during bad storms, and Mayor Dawn Zimmer has ordered a mandatory evacuation for all ground-floor residents.
could be the most severe storm in the history of Hoboken," said Hoboken mayor Dawn Zimmer. “I’m not going to hold a gun to anyone’s head to leave, but people
should be prepared to be without electricity."
The police chief in Hoboken also ordered all bars to stop serving alcohol by 8 p.m. tonight. Residents will also be prohibited from driving cars, including taxis, after 8 o'clock tonight.
So far in New York, no such ban-on-booze has been established and people are still free to drive personal vehicles, although it's not recommended as the weather worsens throughout the day. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has ordered the mandatory evacuation of an estimated 370,000 residents in all of Zone A, the lowest-lying parts of the city, which includes Coney Island, the Rockaways, Red Hook and Battery Park City.
According to the National Weather Service, rain associated with Hurricane Irene is supposed to begin in Manhattan after 11 a.m. Saturday. Conditions will deteriorate into Sunday. Hurricane Irene has been downgraded to a Category 1 storm and has lost a bit of its power overnight, but it will still bring 90 mile-per-hour winds on Sunday.