Mayor prepares for nor'easter as thousands still powerless
Another wallop from Mother Nature could deep the crisis Hurricane Sandy dealt the city.
With forecasts of a nor'easter hitting the city Wednesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg took early precautions Tuesday to prevent more damage in areas already ravaged by last week's storm.
On Tuesday evening, the mayor ordered an mandatory evacuation of health centers in the Rockaways.
Starting today at noon, parks will be shut down for 24 hours and police will check on residents living in low-riding areas, like the Rockaways, Howard Beach and coastal Brooklyn.
"This is to make sure that those who are elderly or homebound are safe and have some where to go," he said.
The mayor did not order any other evacuations for those neighborhoods, but it may be a possibility.
The storm could produce surges as high as four and a half feet and 60 mph winds, according to the National Weather Service. In addition, cold temperatures could produce sleet and freezing rain that could make roads hard to drive on and down trees.
"So we could have some snow on the ground and certainly some snow on the trees -- that makes trees who already have their base flooded more likely to fall over and that's something that we are really going to worry about," he said.
Residents in the low-riding areas said they are taking the mayor's warnings very seriously.
"When the mayor says, 'Go,' I go," Rockaway resident Lynn Collins, 56, told DNAinfo.com.
Bloomberg said homeowners should remove all garbage and loose items from their curbs to reduce the amount of debris that could go flying.
David Stark, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said the storm's power is nowhere near Sandy's force, however, his team was unsure how it would impact low riding areas in the city since coastlines were significantly altered last week.
"Our benchmarks are gone, but this is a typical nor'easter that we see during the fall and winter time," he said.