Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene

Since noon today NYC has shut all its activities in an unprecedented disaster planning, and is anchoring down to face the threat of upcoming hurricane Irene, expected to hit us tonight and lasting until tomorrow evening.The city preparations are impressive and started since the beginning of the week, when our Mayor was already addressing NYC population about the earthquake that was also felt quite well by the residents of the 'rock'.

This latest news has reached the world, and I have received phone calls from friends and relatives in Italy and Albania, where, by the way, they are coping with what they call 'African' temperatures, and extensive forest fires.

More than a million people in our areas have followed the advice to evacuate their homes, and several dozen shelters are ready in the city's 5 boroughs, including some for pet care alone. More than 7000 people have been relocated out of hospitals and care centers, 200 metropolitan trains and thousands of buses are being secured into protective areas, most stores have closed for the weekend, and the few still open have run out of all sorts of staples, and basic emergency necessities, such as water, and batteries.

The plans that have been ongoing now for the past 5 days seem to have covered anything thinkable. They range from turning upside down more than 25,000 city garbage pails, to minimize them from being blown by the high winds, to the deployment throughout the city of the National Guards.

The beaches are not the only worries because our area has also rivers and inland water channels that will be greatly affected during this storm since we also expect normal high tides. The highrises are bracing to face winds of more than 112 mph above the 10 floor level, with possible glass breaks falling onto the surrounding streets, without counting the extirpation of trees in parks and along streets, where thousands of cars are normally parked.

By this evening Manhattan is in effect a real island, totally isolated from the rest of the city because the dozen of bridges and tunnels, leading into and out of this borough, will be closed and all ferries will not run. Although New York and its residents are used to, and can overcome all kinds of crises, in the next 24 hours they will truly have an extraordinary and unparalleled experience, this time thanks to Mother Nature!

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