Sandy Aftermath: Thursday Morning Update

Orchard Street at Canal, looking north, Tuesday night around 8 p.m.

On Day 3 post-Sandy, the LES remains in the dark and attention begins to turn to stretching provisions, caring for our most vulnerable elderly populations and keeping bored children occupied. Hang on tight, everybody, and please check on your neighbors, particularly if you’re in high-rises with large numbers of senior citizens who are house-bound by lack of elevators. Here’s what we know this morning.

After Irene: Even More Photos

Photo by Dominic Pisciotta.

Photo by Rich Caplan.

Grand & FDR Dr - Trees Down-1

Photo by Joel Raskin.

Grand & FDR Dr - Trees Down-2

Photo by Joel Raskin.

Trimming Trees

Photo by Joel Raskin.

Photo by Sarah Sheahan.

These photos are from Lo-Down readers and/or contributors. The first scenes are from East Broadway, where two trees toppled inside Seward Park. The other photos are from Grand Street near FDR Drive.

East River Park Flooding at 6th Street

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 East River Park fans were undaunted by wide pools of standing water.

Lower East Side Storm Watch: More Photos From the Morning

East River flooding - photo © thelodownny.com

Irene fells trees on the LES - photo © thelodownny.com

Hurricane Irene Devastates East Side Trees

The M14A and M22 bus shelter at Grand Street and the FDR was crushed.

Hurricane Irene took out large trees in Corlears Hook Park and the East River Housing Corp, crushing a bus stop on Grand Street and littering the roads and sidewalks with debris. More photos after the jump.

Trees Down on Grand Street

Photo

We’re checking out Grand Street near FDR Drive, where at least four trees are down. A police car just arrived on the scene.

Awning Down on Ludlow Street

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A specialty foods supplier on Ludlow Street lost its awning to Hurricane Irene.

Seward Park Tree Falls Across East Broadway

A large tree in Seward Park crashed over the fence and into East Broadway early this morning.

Hurricane Irene’s rain and winds claimed a tree in Seward Park early this morning. It fell into the westbound lane of East Broadway, near Strauss Square.

 

What’s a Storm Surge, Anyway?

The water is rising.

There’s been a lot of media chatter about the potential for Hurricane Irene’s storm surge, which may be more dangerous than the average Category 1 hurricane because of the storm’s unusually large size and slow pace. But for us denizens of the concrete jungle, “storm surge” isn’t exactly a term we use in everyday parlance. So what does it mean, really? Here is the definition from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA):

The onshore rush of sea or lake water caused by the high wind and the low pressure centers associated with a landfalling hurricane or other intense storm. The amplitude of the storm surge at any given location is dependent upon the orientation of the coast line with the storm track, the intensity, size and speed of the storm, and the local bathymetry. In practice, storm surge is usually estimated by subtracting the normal or astronomical tide from the observed storm tide at tide stations.

As of 4 a.m. today, the storm surge at NOAA’s station in Battery Park was showing that the waters around Lower Manhattan had risen about 4 feet above normal. In the chart above, the blue line graphs the predicted water levels, the red line graphs the actual levels, and the green line measures the difference between them. This chart is online and updated every 15 minutes; you can find it here.

At 1 a.m. today, Reuters was reporting that the FDR Drive was already beginning to flood, “with heavy pooling and tow trucks strategically idling on the sides of the road.”

 

 

Hurricane Irene; Reporting Inside Seward Park Shelter

After days of watching and waiting, we’re about to find out how much punch Hurricane Irene is going to pack in New York City.   As you probably know just by looking out your window, the rain and winds have picked up quite a bit.  By midnight, forecasters say, the winds will be strong enough to take down power lines.  The most severe conditions should be felt between 6 and 10 tomorrow morning, when winds could exceed 70 mph.

Here on the Lower East Side, the shelter at Seward Park High School is filled to capacity. NY1 reporter Lindsey Christ has been reporting from inside the high school for several hours. About an hour ago she noted that Diane Sawyer had arrived. A sampling from Christ’s twitter feed:

Lower East Side NYCHA residents say the city did an incredible job getting them here. Margarita Gonzalez, 65, “And really fancy buses too!”

Diana Correa, 40, “I came here because of my baby, to get her out and keep her safe…

“…but also, I have a disability, and I wouldn’t want to get stuck on 11th floor and have my family not want to leave because of me.”

Lower East Side Storm Watch 2:34 p.m.

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Another scene from the Smith Houses. Lots of buses, mostly empty, are lined up, prepared to evacuate residents. A few families are boarding, but not many.

Lower East Side Storm Watch 2:02 p.m.

Our friends at An Choi report they are still open for lunch.

Lower East Side Storm Watch 2:06 p.m.

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Police are now at the Smith Houses on Catherine Street, urging residents to evacuate. Smith is in Zone A, the mandatory evacuation area. Earlier, City Councilmember Margaret Chin came to Smith in another appeal to residents.

Residents in LES’s Zone A Urged to Evacuate by 5 p.m.

School buses pressed into service to transport evacuees line Grand and Essex streets, where they deposited residents sheltering at Seward Park High School.

Public officials are reiterating the evacuation order for residents in Zone A, the low-lying areas closest to Manhattan’s waterways. Staffers from Assemblymember Brian Kavanaugh’s office just sent us this flyer:

Campos, Riis, Wald, Baruch, Smith, Haven Plaza, Village East

 YOU ARE IN A MANDATORY EVACUATION ZONE

New York City says you MUST leave the area for your safety by 5:00PM Saturday before the hurricane hits!

  • If you can, please go stay with friends or family outside the neighborhood.
  • Or go for emergency shelter if you have no other options: Baruch College, 55 Lexington Avenue at24th Street, or Seward Park High School, 350 Grand St between Ludlow & Essex
  • If you need transportation to the centers, buses will be available on a first come, first serve basis starting at 8AM Saturday from departure points in the area.
  • The MTA will begin shutting down all mass transit by Saturday at noon, so please leave as early as possible. Bridges and tunnels may also be closed.
  • Take a “go bag” with these items if you have them: extra keys, credit/ATM cards as well as cash, bottled water, nonperishable foods, flashlight, battery-operated radio, first aid kit, important documents (photo ID, proof of address, insurance cards).

 For more information, call 311 or visit www.nyc.gov

 

Update from Con Ed: No Plans to Shut Power Proactively

After announcing this morning that it was considering proactive shutdowns of power in lower Manhattan, Con Edison is now saying it will not take action prior to Hurricane Irene’s arrival unless absolutely necessary.

If downtown substations need to be deactivated to protect them from flooding, about 6,000 customers south of the Brooklyn Bridge and east of Broadway to the East River would be affected, a spokesperson told The New York Times City Room blog this afternoon. Also, Con Ed has posted a map of power outages, which is constantly updating.