Mayor Bloomberg just wrapped up a speech to press gathered in Coney Island reiterating many of the warnings and plans he has issued in anticipation of Hurricane Irene’s arrival: Evacuation Zone A residents and those living in the Rockaways should begin their mandatory evacuation, the MTA will stop service at noon and to plan for bridges to be closed later today. He also announced that Con Edison may elect to cut power if they feel a storm surge and flooding will damage their equipment. UPDATE: Mayor Bloomberg also said that all NYCHA elevators will be shut down, but there is no time frame for that yet.
Bloomberg noted that the power outages may happen in downtown Manhattan before any flooding occurs:
“It is possible that Con Ed will have to turn off some of its power in Manhattan because if saltwater gets on some of these cables while they are being used the damage will be substantial. There is a lot less damage to cables if salt water gets on them when they don’t carry any current…it is conceivable that in downtown Manhattan there will be no electricity as well as a lot of water in the streets.”
The storm’s first raindrops fell on Mayor Bloomberg as he said that many high-rise buildings would be shutting down their elevators to prevent anyone from getting stuck in them in the event of a power outage.
He also warned people to avoid parks and especially beaches. “We all know that it’s a lot of fun to catch a big wave,” the 69-year-old mayor said, “this storm is dangerous and we just don’t have the resources, we don’t want to put our first responders in danger just to save you.”