Category Archive: Tropical Storm

Large and dangerous Sandy: mandatory evacuations, limited transportation, closed schools

The size and track of Sandy leads the experts and government officials to conclude that it will be dangerous.  The heavy wind and rains increase the likelihood of flooding, fallen trees, blocked roads and power outages, so weather conditions should be closely monitored. Do not take this storm lightly. Monitor its progress and follow the guidance provided by Governor Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg and/or your County Executive.

Mandatory Evacuation. In New York City, low-lying areas  include: Coney Island, Manhattan Beach, and Red Hook and other areas along the East River in Brooklyn; all of the Rockaways, and also Hamilton Beach and Broad Channel in Queens; almost all the coastal areas of Staten Island; City Island, a small patch of Throgs Neck, and other patches of the South Bronx; and Battery Park City and stretches of the West Side waterfront and of the Lower East Side and East Village in Manhattan. Those living outside of NYC should check the Nassau (including evacuation routes), Suffolk or Westchester emergency websites.

Transportation. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will begin the orderly suspension of all subway, bus and commuter railroad service at 7 p.m. Sunday to protect customers, employees and equipment from the approach of Hurricane Sandy.

The New York City subway system will begin to curtail service after 7 p.m., and the New York City bus system within the following two hours. Metro-North Railroad and the Long Island Rail Road will start their final trains by 7 p.m. Subway and railway stations will be closed after the last trains.

Depending on the impact of the storm, officials may close bridges and tunnels to traffic.

Schools. Due to anticipated severe weather conditions from Hurricane Sandy, all New York City public schools will be closed to students Monday, October 29. Administrative offices will be open. All after-school activities and Public Schools Athletic League events will also be cancelled. We are asking that school staff and employees assigned to a shelter site to report to their posts.

A determination about whether schools will open on Tuesday will be made on Monday, so please continue to monitor the news and nyc.gov for updates to the City’s preparations and response.

Most non-public schools follow the lead of the public schools and will be closed. Parents should check with their children’s schools for a final determination. Many universities and colleges announced that they will be closed on Monday.

Forecast. As of 2:00 PM on Sunday the National Weather Service forecast for NYC:

  • Sunday afternoon. Cloudy, with a high near 60. Breezy, with a northeast wind around 21 mph, with gusts as high as 38 mph.
  • Sunday night. A chance of light rain, mainly after 2am. Cloudy, with a low around 53. Windy, with a northeast wind 26 to 31 mph, with gusts as high as 48 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
  • Monday. Rain. The rain could be heavy at times. High near 58. Very windy, with a northeast wind 39 to 43 mph, with gusts as high as 60 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New precipitation amounts between 1 and 2 inches possible.
  • Monday Night. Rain. The rain could be heavy at times. Low around 55. Very windy, with a northeast wind 45 to 50 mph, with gusts as high as 70 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New precipitation amounts between 1 and 2 inches possible.
  • Tuesday. Rain. The rain could be heavy at times. High near 55. Very windy, with a southeast wind 37 to 43 mph, with gusts as high as 60 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts between a half and three quarters of an inch possible.
  • Tuesday Night. Showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 48. Windy. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

The JCRC-NY recommends:

  • Be informed. Broadcast and print media are doing a good job, but storms can be unpredictable. Pay attention to the updates. For preparation planning tips, see information from NYCNassau (including evacuation routes), Suffolk and Westchester.
  • Do you live in an evacuation zone?   If you do, determine where you will go and how you will get there if there is an evacuation. If you have pets, you should prepare for them as well.
  • Plan and Prepare.
Get more information to secure your Jewish institution at www.jcrcny.org/security.

Tracking Sandy: Tropical Trouble Could Become Menace to Northeast

The forecasters are crunching a lot of data, but there is the possibility of a sprawling storm at the beginning of next week.

It is unlikely that this storm will have the same impact as last year’s, Irene. However, there is the likelihood of heavy rains, high winds and downed trees. There’s no reason to panic, but what should you be doing now?

  1. Pay attention. Most news sources are covering the storm’s progress. As the storm works its way up the coast there will be more information and specific recommendations. Have a battery-operated and/or crank radio. Most weather apps for smart phones relay severe weather alerts. Install one and adjust the settings to let you know when something is happening.
  2. Check if you have the right supplies.
    1. Power outages. These storms often cause power outages. Are you prepared? See JCRC-NY’s Power Outages 101 for Jewish Organizations (PDF) for suggestions and tips. Stock up on flashlight batteries and make sure that your cell phones are fully charges (and think about having a spare battery).
    2. Food. You might not be able to get out for a few days and local stores may not get their regularly scheduled deliveries.
  3. Batten the hatches. Items left outside can become airborne in high winds. Either bring them inside or make sure that they are secured.

Hurricane Earl may visit: Are you ready?

Posted on August 31, 2010
As of this posting, Hurricane Earl is a Category 4 storm in the Caribbean. Forecasters predict that Earl will move up the East Coast and pass 100-200 miles off of Montauk as a Tropical Storm on Friday night/Saturday morning (see Shabbat tips below). The heavy wind and rains increase the likelihood of flooding, fallen trees, blocked roads and power outages, especially on Long Island. 

For more information (including an overview and NY area historic patterns and conditions), view an excellent presentation by I. Ross Dickman, Meteorologist-in-charge, NOAA’s National Weather Service, New York, NY office.

The JCRC-NY recommends:
  • Be informed. Broadcast and print media are doing a good job, but storms can be unpredictable. Pay attention to the updates. For preparation planning tips, see information from NYC, Nassau (including evacuation routes), Suffolk and Westchester.
  • Plan and Prepare. 
  • Remember Shabbat. The storm forecast coincides with Shabbat which may require additional preparatory steps: 
    • Reach out to local officials. If you have special concerns over Shabbat (see below), discuss them with your local police of fire officials. 
    • Make decisions before the storm. The Orthodox Union issued Shabbat Protocols in Case of a Hurricane, written by Rabbi Kenneth Brander (now of Yeshivah University) with thanks to Rabbi Hershel Schachter for his guidance. While these protocols are an excellent guide to the issues of concern, consult with appropriate rabbinical authorities about specific guidance regarding the expected conditions of the upcoming storm.

  • Minyan. If a hurricane is happening on Shabbat, stay home! Try to prearrange with your rabbi to have the congregation lain two parshiyot on the next Shabbat. 
  • Services should take place on Shabbat, if: 
    • a) the storm has passed; AND 
    • b) civil authorities declare the area safe. 
  • If there is no electricity, services should take place only during daylight hours. If there is electricity, services can be held as regularly scheduled. 
  • Assume there is no Eruv. 
    • Carrying permitted for life/limb threatening situations. 
    • Carrying permitted for individuals who need medical attention without which a person’s functionality is compromised, (even for a bed-ridden headache). In this case carrying should be done, only if possible, in an irregular fashion (i.e. carrying medicine in ones belt or shoe). 
    • Carrying permitted to allow a baby, infirm seniors or a child traumatized by the event to function without compromise. In this case carrying should be done, if possible, in a irregular fashion (i.e. two people carrying or wheeling the stroller/person.) 
  • Use of candles and flashlights 
    • Use yahrzeit or hurricane candles lit before Shabbat placed in designated locations (many disaster experts caution against the use of candles at any time because of the risk of fire. Most Jewish households are accustomed to having yahrzeit candles lit for 24 hours. Use appropriate caution.). 
    • Hang/place lit flashlights with fresh batteries in key locations before Shabbat. 
  • If flash light/candle goes out: 
    • When necessary (to take care of children, to eat, etc.) and there is no other light, a non-Jew can relight or change batteries. 
    • If not having the light may create a life threatening situation, you may do it yourself. 
    • Moving candles and flashlight is permitted in the following situations: 
      • For any medical concerns no matter how slight. 
      • Carrying permitted for comfort and welfare of seniors and children under eight (or above eight years old when child is traumatized by the event). 
      • When possible, moving a candle, should be done by two individuals. 
  • Television or Radio
    •  TV or radio should be left on in a side room
    •  Channel should not be changed
    • Volume on radio may be adjusted on Shabbat. Better to keep it on low for it preserves the battery and only raise it when necessary.
    • You should monitor later forecasts and be alert for possible flood warnings. Those living in areas prone to flooding should be prepared to take action.