Like a Hollywood disaster film, weather experts issued an apocalyptic warning of a “nightmare scenario” if Hurricane Irene directly hits New York City this Sunday. They warned that transportation systems could be grounded, parts of the city would be flooded and skyscrapers would be damaged.
Popular Mechanics magazine claims that 100 mph winds could dump 500 million tons of water directly into New York Harbor. Workers would spend weeks pumping water out of transport tunnels and the salt water could corrode power lines, destroying transportation and electrical systems
Brooklyn and Queens would be flooded, the famous New York City subway system would flood in 40 minutes and a million people might lose electricity. A Category 3 storm would also put JFK Airport under 19 feet of water.
President Barack Obama issued a statement warning citizens: “You need to listen to your state and local officials. If you're in the way of this hurricane you should be preparing now. If you're instructed to evacuate please do so. The more you can do to be prepared now, the quicker we can focus our resources after the storm on those who need them the most.”
New York City officials said that they plan to shut down subways, trains and buses on Saturday in anticipation of Hurricane Irene's arrival. Bridges may also be closed if the monster storm hits. Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered a mandatory evacuation of nursing homes, care facilities for the elderly and hospitals in likely flood areas by 8 p.m. Friday.
Mayor Bloomberg added that it was "very conceivable" that he will order a mandatory evacuation of all low-lying areas of the city by Saturday because "the storm is predicted to be very dangerous.”
Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency to free up resources and take advantage of federal assistance.