By Gabriel Rom
Even as it looks like New York will be spared the worst of Hurricane Joaquin, New Yorkers are being told to prepare and expect the worst.
According to weather predictions, the Category 4 storm is heading north and will miss most land areas along the northeastern seaboard.
Nevertheless, with the devastation from Hurricane Sandy still fresh in the minds of city officials, the mayor has urged New Yorkers to make emergency kits for their homes with thing likes water, food and a flashlight, as well as pack a “Go Bag” in case they’re forced to evacuate.
The city is taking few chances and is aggressively deploying resources across the borough and city.
Thursday, along the Rockaway Peninsula, crews installed makeshift flood walls and sand barriers to protect local businesses and residents. Crews also searched local highways to remove debris.
“Look, we aren’t going to be surprised here,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference Thursday. “One, because we’ve gone through a painful past experience. Two, because we’re talking today about something that will have its earliest effects Sunday and Monday,”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York activated the state emergency operations center in Albany in anticipation of heavy rain, high winds, coastal flooding and power failures as the hurricane makes its way up the coast. Cuomo has also notified 3,000 National Guard soldiers that they could be deployed, if the hurricane alters course and heads for New York.
“We learned a lot of lessons the hard way during Sandy, because that was a situation we had never encountered before,” Cuomo said at the press conference. “Whether you’re talking about the MTA or the Port Authority or DOT facilities, they are all much, much better prepared than they’ve ever been. I just don’t want to get arrogant or cocky because I’ve been knocked to the ground a couple of times by Mother Nature, but there’s no doubt that were in a much, much better position than we’ve never been in before.”
Even though Joaquin will likely miss New York, Queens residents should still expect showers, high winds and cooler temperatures over the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.
To find out if you live in an evacuation site, check the city’s website at maps.nyc.gov/
Reach reporter Gabriel Rom by e-mail at grom@