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New York, de Blasio, Cuomo prepare ahead of Hurricane Joaquin

Hurricane Joaquin is seen churning in the Caribbean

Hurricane Joaquin is seen churning in the Caribbean on Sept. 30, 2015. Photo Credit: NOAA via Getty Images

City and state officials are closely watching to see how close Hurricane Joaquin will get to New York, though on Friday morning it was seen as less likely to pose a major threat.

Cuomo told NY1 Friday morning that "the spaghetti bowl of possible tracks of the hurricane suggest that Joaquin won't have a direct impact on New York." Still, he said the state is "preparing for the worst and hoping for the best."

He added that New York has come a long way since Hurricane Sandy and Tropical Storm Irene, explaining that the state has more equipment, as well as personnel who are better trained.

Cuomo said that New York got a good jump on preparing for the storm due to advanced notice of its possible landfall. Still, he acknowledged that long periods of rain are "problematic" for the area regardless.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said 30 agencies are coordinating the city's response, and they are in close contact with the National Weather Service.

"We went through a lot in this city, three years ago, as a result of Superstorm Sandy. The city learned tremendously valuable lessons," said de Blasio. "It was a tragedy and very difficult time for New York City. We changed a lot of what we do."

Officials said the chance of the storm hitting the east coast was decreasing, but they wanted to be extremely prepared. Preparations range from seventy shelters getting ready for residents to evacuate from coastal areas to a dedicated storm car per precinct and prepping of the subway system.

The MTA and Port Authority said the transit system is stronger than when Superstorm Sandy ravaged the city's subway systems, bridges and airports in October 2012.

"We are in much better shape," said MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast. "The facilities that were severely damaged have been restored to the condition they were before the storm, and, in some, better."

If Joaquin hits, giant sandbags and metal gates now surround the Coney Island train yard. Subway entrances in lower Manhattan will be sealed with metal stair covers and a three-mile sea wall now protects the subway tracks in the Rockaways. More than 500 places where water can enter the subway system will be sealed off.

"After Sandy, there is a lot we learned," said MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz.

Extra workers are on hand to work on the subway system, getting pumps and manhole covers in place. At tunnels that haven't yet been fortified for major flooding, workers will remove any critical parts that they can to protect them, and close off all points that water could access.

Accuweather meteorologist Tom Kines said that next week should be sunny if New Yorkers can make it through the rainy, windy weekend.

"If you can get it through the weekend, we got it made," he said.

There will be between a half-inch and an inch of rain through Friday night, with chilly temperatures in the fifties. On Saturday, there will be light rain and drizzle, followed by more light rain on Sunday.

Along the coast, there will be rough surf, beach erosion, and a chance of coastal flooding over the weekend.

New York City will warm up more on Sunday, with temperatures in the sixties.

On Monday, there will be some sunshine and weather will be in the sixties. Despite the concern over Hurricane Joaquin, it's not expected to rain.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday will be sunny and in the sixties as well.

(With Reuters)


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