Hurricane Irene Watch — The National Weather Service has put the entire New York metropolitan area under a hurricane watch. That means sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or more are forecast, from Saturday evening through Sunday afternoon or evening. Gale force winds of 40 miles per hour are expected to reach the NYC metro area, including Long Island, by 9 pm. It doesn’t matter whether this monster storm is called a Category One or a Category Two — let’s just call it a very dangerous storm and take precautions. These are simple common sense safety tips worth reminding everybody about —
- Stay indoors. Don’t go out unless it’s absolutely necessary. No sightseeing. There will be ferocious winds, ferocious rain and possibly flying debris, including from mechanical equipment on top of so many NYC buildings, such as water towers, pumps and water heaters.
- Stay away from glass windows. There’s a risk that flying debris can shatter windows. That risk increases if you are on the 10th floor or higher of any building. The risk of a window simply blowing out from the air pressure also is greater on higher floors. If you can, stay in rooms with no or few windows, and close the doors to rooms you aren’t using
- Don’t stand or congregate in a glassed-in lobby or atrium.
- A good precaution is to fill a bathtub or sink with potable water.
- Because of the danger of falling limbs or trees, stay out of NYC City parks on Sunday. Parks in low-lying areas, such as Brooklyn Bridge Park, are officially closed.
- If you haven’t already done it, charge cellphones and other electronic devices, put fresh batteries in flashlights, and rent or download a good movie for tonight.