Much to my dismay, Friday afternoon brought with it a Mandatory Evacuation Alert for all residents residing within Zone A. We were ordered to evacuate on or before 5pm on Saturday. I was still not convinced. Hurricane force wind probabilities according to NOAA / NHC were 10% or less. Storm surge greater than 4 foot was at 5-10%.
The dogs were not happy about this.
On Friday evening I spoke with neighbors in our building to get a rough consensus as to how many people would be staying vs. leaving. It appeared as though many people, specifically those whom did not have small children with them, were opting to fend for themselves. I was enthusiastic about doing the same... until an NYPD officer made it clear that patrols would be active after 5pm Saturday and that anybody caught outside would be forcibly moved to shelters located in non-evacuation zones... if we did not have the dogs, I would have been pushing hard to stay.
It was at this point that we made the decision to call into action Option 2 and relocate to Hell's Kitchen. Instinctively, Karmen took the reins and began a comprehensive packing and planning strategy. This is a trait I admire dearly and is one which I lack at times.
What did I do? I began preparations for that which you will find in my next post..
In preparation for the arrival of Irene we began to plan out some options. The first was to flee by car to a nice Bed & Breakfast in the Poconos mountains in Pennsylvania. Two dogs increased the difficulty of securing this option and the decision was made to scrap it.
Option two was to secure a location in Manhattan that was not near the water and not located within a potential flood evacuation zone. Fortunately, I knew we had a close friend who owns an apartment in Hells Kitchen which is presently unoccupied and partially furnished.
The third option, which I was hoping for (and Karmen was not!), was to load the apartment up with supplies and ride the storm out in the comfort of our own home. I had inquired as to what conditions our building was rated to sustain and was told it had been designed to withstand 200mph+ winds.
So, we began executing option two and option three while awaiting future tracking models and news from City Hall.
My name is James Petrie and I live in Lower Manhattan with my girlfriend, Karmen, and our two dogs, Maya and Toby. We have been following Hurricane Irene religiously since its sustained winds reached 74mph+.
We live in what is considered one of the most dangerous sections of New York City in respect to storm surge / flood susceptibility. To give you an idea of our general location, we are approximately 5 blocks away from Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange.
The Office of Emergency Management have classified where we live as a "Zone A" flood risk in the City's evacuation zone threat system, indicating that our area has the most extreme risk of severe flooding should storm surge occur. Reports that I have heard state that a storm surge of 4 feet or greater would put us under water.
Flooding is not a threat to our apartment or belongings (as we are 50 feet above the ground), but is a threat to what it will do to basement levels in corporate and residential buildings in our neighborhood, i.e. salt water damage to elevator systems, electrical equipment and cabling.