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Aug 25 - Hurricane Irene set to hit New York this weekend | Irene discussion & updates



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Aug 25 - Hurricane Irene set to hit New York this weekend | Irene discussion & updates
 

 

New York is getting ready to face Hurricane Irene, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Thursday.

Speaking at a press conference outside St. Luke's Baptist Church in Queens, Bloomberg said the city was keeping a close eye on the storm's progression and making sure it could cope if heavy rains and up to 60-mph winds arrive this weekend.

"The city has already seen the power of Mother Nature this week," Bloomberg said, referring to the earthquake which shook the city Tuesday.

The city is "hoping for the best, preparing for the worst," he added.

New Jersey's Governor Chris Christie has declared a state of emergency for New Jersey, and is asking people to steer clear of the Jersey shore this weekend.

The declaration that will allow the state to deploy resources as they prepare for the storm.

Hurricane Irene is expected to arrive in the New York area late Saturday or Sunday with the most ferocious Category 2 weather predicted for the eastern parts of Long Island.

Meteorologists warned its exact path remains hard to anticipate and it could change track at any moment.

Bloomberg said New York City itself was unlikely to experience the worst of the weather, but evacuations were possible for some low-lying areas such as Coney Island and Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn, and The Rockaways in Queens.

South Beach and other coastal Staten Island areas, as well as Battery Park City in Manhattan could also be at risk of flooding.

The Mayor said any decision to evacuate would not happen until late Friday, and it would likely be a recommendation, rather than an order.

A total of 270,000 people would be affected by such an order, Bloomberg said.

To prepare for the imminent storm - which has wreaked a path of destruction through parts of the Caribbean and is expected to hit the Carolinas by the weekend - officials recommended packing a bag with essentials and moving items to upper floors in a house.

Residents in areas at risk of evacuation were urged to seek alternative shelter.

"See if that long lost cousin would be willing to put you up overnight," Bloomberg said.

The city has been coordinating with the MTA and state authorities to ensure adequate safeguards are in place ahead of Irene's arrival.

The NYPD is deploying 33 police boats and putting another 50 small boats at precincts.

The Office of Emergency Management command center is open, and hospitals are checking that emergency generators function.

One of the biggest concerns could be falling trees and branches, an issue the Parks Department and the Department of Sanitation were addressing.

Bloomberg urged New Yorkers not to swim in rough tu


 Hurricane Irene set to hit New York this weekend; New Jersey declares state of emergency
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