Hurricane Sandy: The Latest on the Storm and Staying SafeBy Jennifer Weiss • Oct 29th, 2012 • Category: Featured, News
Hurricane Sandy, “Frankenstorm” — whatever you call her, she’s coming today. Here’s a list of the latest information including mandatory evacuations, shelters, hourly bus pickup locations, municipal parking lots, the lowdown on Sandy’s potential impact and more.
JCI will be updating this post throughout the day with links to new coverage and updates to make sure everyone has the latest information.
WEDNESDAY Oct. 31: The water is safe to drink. No need to boil.
UPDATE, WEDNESDAY Oct. 31 7:34 pm: Readers tell us who has power and who does not.
7:00 pm: Regularly scheduled trash pickup has resumed. This update comes after a previous announcement that it would remain suspended.
4:55 pm: Jersey City and PSE&G officials warn to check pilot lights in homes without power. Since this PSA comes online, pass the word.
4:05 pm: Ferry service resumes to midtown as well as World Financial Center.
3:43 pm: Schools have been closed until Monday, according to the mayor and OEM.
The 7 pm curfew, which coincides with the business curfew, is back in effect as well.
3:34 pm: NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has limited Lincoln Tunnel access to high occupancy vehicles of three or more passengers.
2:53 pm: Jersey City’s parking regulations are suspended indefinitely.
2:14 pm: Jersey City evacuees will be moved to the Armory as of 3 pm today, with MS #4 and #7 closing then. Dickinson High School will remain open is housing homeless evacuees.
Supplies are being provided by the city, but donations are still encouraged.
2:08 pm: Oxygen available for ailing residents. The Office of Emergency Management will pick you up, if needed.
1:40 pm: PSE&G says full restoration can take up to 4 to 5 more days. In the meantime, see below for places to charge cell phones and replenish diminishing supplies and food.
1:22 pm: Halloween has been postponed by executive order. The end of October holiday is now set for the first Monday in November.
12:41 pm: Only three shelters remain open. Donations are still encouraged.
12:30 pm: Here’s a partial list of open stores. Hours are limited and so are refrigerated items.
10:59 am: Need to leave or return to Jersey City? Here are your options.
10:15 am: The driving ban has been temporarily lifted until 6 pm tonight.
9:39 am: New Jersey’s DEP urges water conservation as the statewide effort to treat water struggles to keep up with need.
Oct. 30, 3:40 pm: Need Disaster Assistance? This Federal Website Will Help.
1:19 pm: Jersey City schools will be closed on Wednesday, says Mayor Healy.
1:10 pm Port Authority Reopens Goethels, George Washington, Outerbridge Crossing and Bayonne Bridges.
12:02 pm: Gov. Christie says it can be more than 8 days before power in NJ is fully restored. Says federal assistance is on its way.
11:08 am: Governor Chris Christie says the PATH train system will likely remain inoperable for 7 to 10 days. Ferries will be mass transit commuters’ main option.
10:04 am: A reporter’s shoes-on-the-ground look at the flooding downtown.
10:03 am: Safety tips from PSE&G.
10:02 am: Hurricane Sandy meets expectations, causes 1.2 million power outages statewide. Get the full scope of the storm’s impact here.
9:46 am: Save that cell phone by draining the laptop battery first. Other power saving ideas? Click the link to share.
Oct. 29, 11:28 pm: We’ve got confirmation that all of Palisade Avenue from Route 139 to Franklin Street is without power, which includes all side streets between Palisade Ave to Central Avenue.
Additional reports have power outages where Coles St. meets Newark Avenue.
11:02 pm High tide has now passed for the evening.
10:33 pm: Readers are reporting that much of Jersey City is without power.
10:01 pm: Gov. Christie tweets, “The Turnpike is now closed between Woodbridge and Newark. Please stay off the roads and out of harms way.”
9:30 pm: Newark Liberty International and Teterboro airports are both closed due to flooding.
9:20 pm: John F. Kennedy Airport has flooded and is closed until further notice. Check http://www.panynj.gov/ (or JCI) for updated information about PATH, the airports, the tunnels and bridges, and all other means of entering or leaving the area.
9:02 pm: Paulus Hook over 13 hours of surging seas.
6:41 pm: Sandy reportedly made landfall in southern NJ at 6:03 pm.
5:42 pm: Not directly JC-related, but FYI, @NYCMayorsOffice tweeted that at 7 pm, all four East River bridges will shut down: Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg and Ed Koch Queensboro bridges.
5:27 pm: Hurricane Sandy Making Landfall This Evening in New Jersey within the next few hours.
5:08 pm: A spokeswoman for PSE&G says that 1,040 buildings have lost power in Hudson County so far. Make sure those flashlights are nearby.
4:11 pm: Officials say the Throgs Neck, Henry Hudson and George Washington bridges will close at 7 pm.
3:28 pm: Tappan Zee Bridge closing 4 pm, ABC News reports.
2:22 pm: The driving ban is now in effect. With that being said, keep in mind that NJ Route 7 is flooded between where it hits the Turnpike all the way into Kearny, NJ. The Holland Tunnel is closed but the Lincoln Tunnel remains open. Meanwhile, the George Washington Bridge, Goethals Bridge, Bayonne Bridge and Outerbridge Crossing are open and operating with 35 mph speed restrictions.
According to JCPD spokesman Stan Eason, no city-maintained roads are currently underwater; however, he said by 9 pm tonight when high tide comes in he expects that to be a serious problem.
1:26 pm: The pick-up area at the Newport Mall McDonalds is now under water; shelter pick-ups in that neighborhood moving forward will be made at City Hall (280 Grove Street) or the Pavonia PATH station.
12:51 pm: Curfews, as per the mayor’s emergency declaration, will last from 6 pm today, 10/29, through 1pm, Tues., 10/30 for the following areas: from Washington Blvd. east to Hudson River; the area around State Highway 440 West to the Hackensack River and the Bayonne City Line; and all pedestrian traffic is prohibited along Port Liberte as well as Country Village.
12:31 pm: Also, driving will be prohibited in Hoboken after 4 pm, as tweeted by Hoboken Councilman Ravi Bhalla.
11:48 am: The Mayor’s Action Bureau says there are no more sandbags being distributed.
11:35 am: Updated with complete list of open municipal lots; city spokesman Stan Eason says 70 people have evacuated to local shelters with most (40) at Dickinson High School.
11:19 am: Are People Concerned Enough About Hurricane Sandy? How some are in Jersey City’s West Side neighborhood are (or are not) preparing for the ‘cane.
11:18 am: Gov. Chris Christie tweeted “We have activated the Volunteer Emergency Response Hotline. If you would like to help, please call 1-800-JERSEY-7.”
10:29 am: The state OEM says residents can call 2-1-1 for general Sandy info, 5-1-1 for road information and 9-1-1 for emergency assistance only.
The action began this morning in Jersey City with forecasts of light rain and wind, but it’s a game residents have been preparing to play all weekend.
For those residing in ground or first floor buildings in low-laying areas, the city has ordered mandatory evacuations beginning at 7 am. Areas affected include:
- All streets east of Greene Street from Essex Street North to Columbus Drive.
- All streets east of Washington Boulevard from Columbus Drive North to 18th Street
- Port Liberte
- Society Hill and Country Village
These residents and others should make use of the city’s outlined evacuation routes and hourly bus pickups.
Hourly pickups to the city’s evacuation shelters will start at 7 am on Monday through the duration of the storm at the following locations:
- Society Hill
- OLM/Country Village
- Newport Center/McDonald’s
- Pavonia PATH Station
- Port Liberte/ Strip Mall on Chapel Ave.
- Martin Luther King Drive and Communipaw Avenue
- Garfield Avenue and Communipaw Avenue
The shelters themselves are at the following locations:
- MS #4, 107 Bright Street (close to Jersey City Medical Center, best for evacuees with existing medical problems)
- PS #7, 222 Laidlaw Avenue
- Dickinson High School on Palisades Avenue
- PS #17, 600 Bergen Avenue (Enter on the Monticello Avenue side)
- PS #41 at Wilkinson and Ocean Avenues.
- The Mary McLeod Bethune Center at MLK Drive and Fulton Avenue
- Pershing Field (pet-friendly)
Those who need to move their cars to higher ground can park in municipal lots at the following locations. The Jersey City Parking Authority has suspended parking enforcement regulations to include residential permit parking:
- 340 Central Avenue
- 352 Central Avenue
- 388 Central Avenue
- 754 West Side Avenue
- Montgomery and Orchard streets
- 277 Central Avenue
- Sherman Place
- 522 West Side Avenue
- 693 Newark Avenue
- Fairview and Bergen avenues
- 404 Second Street
- 174 Newark Avenue
- 477-479 Central Avenue
- Boland Street off Bergen
- Hoboken Avenue
All motor vehicle activity on Jersey City streets and highways will be prohibited from 2 pm today, Oct. 29, until further notice. On a related note, NJ Transit (rail,bus, light rail, access link), PATH Train service and MTA service in New York City were all shut down by midnight, Oct. 29, in advance of the storm.
Residents are encouraged to follow updates at JC_GOV on Twitter, The Official City of Jersey City Facebook Page, Wiredjc.com and the Mass Alert system. JCI will be posting updates throughout the day. You can follow us on Twitter @jcindependent or on Facebook.
Locals have been preparing over the weekend, stocking up on food, water and emergency supplies. Jersey City Medical Center prepared for the storm by opening an “Emergency Command Center” and bringing in extra staff, back-up generators and generators to back-up to the back-up generators. PSE&G has also called in additional workers, including crews from other states, to handle downed lines and damage from falled trees. At 3:30 am this morning, about 800, mostly in Deptford Township in Gloucester County, had already lost power in New Jersey. (FYI, anyone who sees a downed power line should call 9-1-1 immediately.) Jersey City handed out sand and sandbags and set up shelters, evacuation routes and more. (Check out video from the sandbag distribution here.)
The local geography of the Hudson County and the New York City area makes it a very dangerous place for storm surge, according to JC native Jacob Carlin, who earned a B.S. in Meteorology from Rutgers University and shared his weather-related insights on the storm with JCI.
As water is funneled from the ocean into the New York Harbor/Raritan Bay, it can greatly increase the amount of surge that occurs, Carlin says. The worst-case scenario is with winds from the southeast, and with Sandy making landfall south of our area along the New Jersey shore sometime late Monday night or early Tuesday, winds are expected to be out of the southeast ahead of the storm. This greatly increases the risk of a dangerous storm surge in the area.
The storm surge is currently forecast to peak at an unprecedented six to 11 feet in our area, with the most recent model forecasts calling for six feet of surge in Battery Park and seven feet of surge in Newark Bay. Last night at about 11 pm, flood prone Hoboken next door had already started flooding in some areas as the Hudson River’s tide rose. The storm is also predicted to bring very strong winds to the area. By Monday morning, winds in Jersey City are expected to be sustained at 20 to 30 miles per hour with gusts up to 40 to 50 miles per hour.
There were already about 25 people in the shelter set up at the Dickinson High School gym late Sunday night, many of them homeless residents of the Journal Square area brought to the school by bus.
“At least I know I’m not out there in it,” said a homeless woman who lives in Journal Square and goes by the name Mom. “It’s not bad. I’m safe.”
Others say they have no choice but to face the strong winds. Mary Kulakowski, who lives on York Street near Marin, said she was staying in town because she has to work Monday in Bayonne.
“I’m sure I’ll get to work, but I’m not sure I’ll get home,” she said.
Kulakowski, 51, had stocked up on water and dog food and parked her car in a garage, and was storing her garbage cans. She said she was perturbed she’d missed the sandbag pickup — during Irene, the water came up almost to her front door.
Her sister Susan Kulakowski, 52, who owns the house and lives on the second floor, said she was aggravated more has not been done to deal with the problem of flooding in the area and that the city’s infrastructure was simply not capable of handling the development Downtown.
“If you speak to anyone with a basement, they know they’re going to flood,” she said. “It’s no surprise. Every time there’s high tide and rain, my neighbors’ basements flood.” (Her house doesn’t have a basement.)
The Kulakowskis’ neighbor Susanna Martin, 62, said Irene left her with five feet of water in her basement and yard.
“We’re all waiting to see if those sump pumps really work,” Martin said.
She said she felt it was shortsighted of the city to have the sandbag pickup at the Municipal Lot on Montgomery and Orchard Street and at PS #40 at Ocean and Gates Avenues rather than in her neighborhood where flooding is more common.
Mohammad Alam, 50, the owner of Salman Grocery at 249 Marin, said the city had made improvements since Irene, which had cost him $4,500 in repairs in addition to lost business and food he had to throw away after he lost power.
Raj Drivedi, 34, wasn’t worried about flooding — he lives on the 12th floor of his building nearby — but did not know how he would get to his job in the city tomorrow. With the PATH trains not running, he could drive, he reasoned — but he didn’t know what he would do in the evening, since the city has suspended driving after 2 pm.
“Either I work from home or take the day off,” he said, adding that he would call his boss in the morning.
Additional reporting from the JCI staff; compiled and updated by Summer Dawn Hortillosa and Matt Hunger
Photos by NOAA (Hurricane Sandy), Ingrid Spangler (Exchange Place), Jennifer Weiss (deli), Summer Dawn Hortillosa (Hudson Mall; tree)
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