By Robert Pozarycki
Coastal and low-lying areas of Queens should be on alert with a major nor’easter packing heavy rain and high winds heading our way, the city’s Department of Emergency Management.
The agency issued a citywide travel advisory for Friday, Dec. 21, after forecasts indicate the approaching storm could drop between two and three inches of rain and produce winds potentially reaching up to 45 mph. The National Weather Service had already issued a flood watch and a wind advisory for the city, in effect from 1 a.m. on Dec. 21 until 1 a.m. the following day.
“We are expecting heavy rainfall that may cause widespread flooding on Friday, and we advise you to exercise caution and allow for extra travel time,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito.
The heaviest rain was expected to take place between late on Thursday night and mid-morning on Friday, but steady rain will likely continue through Friday night. The department indicated that thunderstorms are also possible. Predicted strong wind gusts could put areas with overhead power lines at risk of power outages due to fallen cables.
Coastal flooding may also be a problem, and the National Weather Service declared a coastal flood warning for waterfront areas in southern Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Friday morning. The Queens areas under the warning include Howard Beach, Broad Channel and the Rockaways.
“Widespread flooding of low-lying property including parking lots, parks, lawns, and homes or businesses with basements near the waterfront and shoreline is possible,” according to the Emergency Management statement. “Vehicles parked in vulnerable areas near the waterfront will likely become flooded.”
The city urges residents living in coastal areas of southern Queens to be on the look out for rising waters and take precautions to safeguard their lives and properties.
The department says it has activated its Flash Flood Emergency Plan “to ensure a quick, effective and coordinated preparation and response to any flash flood events” around the city. New Yorkers should call 311 to report any clogged catch basins or areas of standing water.
Because it’s the last Friday before Christmas, New York City was already under a gridlock alert. The Department of Transportation advises residents to use public transportation as much as possible to get around.