Mayor Bloomberg said the city
would order the MTA to halt
subway service if winds reach
39 miles per hour or higher.

NEW YORK CITY-The city is taking several precautions in preparation for Hurricane Sandy, which is currently moving northward off the southeastern US coast. While it is still too early to determine the storm’s precise track, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city government is coordinating with Gov. Andrew Cuomo on emergency planning efforts for the five boroughs.

Bloomberg said during a press conference this afternoon that the city’s Office of Emergency Management will order the MTA to suspend service on subways, bridges and tunnels if winds reach 39 miles per hour or higher. “Whenever or wherever, the city is expected to feel its effects for several days,” Bloomberg said, noting that the city can experience heavy rain and flooding, but as of now, government offices and other municipal agencies will be open Monday unless otherwise noted. “This is a large unpredictable storm,” he added, explaining that schedules are subject to change. “We will continue to provide updates as needed. We are taking all the steps we can, but we don’t know where it will land.”

City residents in low-lying areas – such as Coney Island, Battery Park City and Staten Island’s North Shore – were not ordered to evacuate, but Bloomberg urged residents to check throughout the weekend for vital storm updates and information. In addition, the city’s Department of Buildings also halted all construction as of 5 p.m. Saturday as a safety precaution.

On the commercial real estate front, Louis J. Mantia, president of BOMA/NY, tells in a statement that the organization applauds the City and State’s extensive level of “readiness and information” access as outlined by Mayor Bloomberg at the press conference today, as well as the DOB’s order to cease construction. “As the Association that represents NYC’s commercial office towers, BOMA/NY continues to work with OEM, Con Edison and other appropriate agencies, and is keeping our membership informed with preparation advice,” he says. “We understand that throughout our industry, building management teams are undertaking their Emergency Action Plans, Business Continuity plans, and keeping a sharp eye on the weather news so that all appropriate portions will be enacted. These plans are highly detailed, cover multiple contingencies and are the best tools we have available today. We remind all New Yorkers to prepare responsibly–the benefits far outweigh the time it takes to do so”

The BOMA/NY Weather Response Subcommittee has provided a checklist of what building managers/owners can prepare for the storm:

  • Fasten or remove loose materials.
  • Close all exterior windows
  • Clear plazas and terraces of loose material
  • Check reliability of boilers and all power generation systems
  • Secure roof mounted equipment like flashings, roof vents, and HVAC
  • Check and secure all sidewalk sheds
  • Inspect and test all necessary back up equipment such as generators and communication devices including radios, repeaters and fire alarms
  • Clean out drains and catch basins
  • Inspect all fire protection equipment such as sprinkler control valves, fire alarms and fire pumps
  • Secure on-site cranes for high winds
  • Anchor or remove any non-essential equipment to a safe location
  • Properly brace outdoor signs.
  • Check and maintain your supply of plywood and sandbags
  • Review your insurance policy and make sure you have your carriers contact information

The city took similar measures during Hurricane Irene, which was downgraded to a tropical storm after making landfall last year.