Mayor Bloomberg downplayed the strength and intensity of Sandy yesterday, saying that the storm is not going to be as strong as Hurricane Irene was when that storm hit the city last year.
Even though many storm tracks are pointing to landfall on the Jersey coast (Accuweather says Sandy is "headed on a crash course with New Jersey") , Bloomberg said the storm will hit much farther south near Delaware or Maryland.
Bloomberg said the storm surge from Sandy will be slower and less intense than if the storm were still a hurricane, so he was not as concerned about flooding as he was last year for Irene.
The mayor has said there are no planned evacuations of flood zones in the city as of this time, though he may change that decision later.
The mayor also said city offices will be opened Monday and he planned
to have New York City schools opened on Monday as well, though a final
decision on that would be made Sunday night.
Bloomberg said people should consider Sandy a dangerous storm but he expected the city to get through this "very nicely".
That was yesterday evening.
The National Weather Service sent out the following forecast this morning:
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW YORK NY
636 AM EDT SUN OCT 28 2012
.SHORT TERM /6 PM THIS EVENING THROUGH MONDAY NIGHT/...
DANGEROUS COASTAL STORM EXPECTED TONIGHT THROUGH TUESDAY...
IN ACCORDANCE WITH EXPECTED POST TROPICAL TRANSITION OF
SANDY...WIND FIELDS INCREASE SPATIALLY WITH LOW LEVEL WINDS REALLY
PICKING UP TONIGHT INTO MONDAY MORNING WITH 925MB WINDS INCREASING
TO 40 TO 55 KT. INCREASED WINDS LATE TONIGHT THROUGH MONDAY
MORNING WITH THE DEEPENING LOW APPROACHING AND PRESSURE GRADIENT
TIGHTENING. WINDS GUSTS EXPECTED TO BE IN THE RANGE OF 55 TO 60
MPH BY THAT POINT.
THE LOCAL AREA IS EXPECTED TO BE AFFECTED BY SIGNIFICANT IMPACTS
FROM SANDY STARTING TONIGHT AND CONTINUING INTO TUESDAY. GENERAL
OPERATION MODELS ARE LINING UP BETTER WITH TIMING...BRINGING THE
STORM IN MONDAY EVENING...AND WITH LANDFALL ALONG THE NJ COAST
INTO NYC. LATEST NHC FORECAST CONTINUES TO TREND NORTH AND
BRINGING THE STORM IN NEAR SOUTH TO CENTRAL NJ. THE STORM IS
STILL EXPECTED TO MAKE A TRANSITION INTO POST TROPICAL PRIOR TO
LANDFALL...BUT MAKE NO MISTAKE...THIS WILL BE A LARGE AND
DANGEROUS STORM FOR THE NORTHEAST/MID ATLANTIC.
BASED ON ABOVE...CONFIDENCE IS HIGH IN SIGNIFICANT IMPACTS TO THE
IN TERMS OF WINDS...WINDS GRADUALLY INCREASING TO TROPICAL STORM
STRENGTH SUNDAY NIGHT INTO MONDAY MORNING. THE STRONGEST WINDS
WILL BE COINCIDENT WITH THE CLOSEST APPROACH AND LANDFALL OF
SANDY...MONDAY AFTERNOON INTO MONDAY NIGHT...WITH POTENTIAL FOR
SPEEDS OF 40-55MPH AND GUSTS 70-80MPH. THESE WINDS COULD BE 10 TO
15 MPH HIGHER IN ELEVATED LOCATIONS. IF THESE WINDS ARE
REALIZED...THE COMBINATION OF EVENT DURATION...SATURATED
GROUNDS...AND PARTIAL TO FULL FOLIAGE TREES...WOULD CAUSE
WIDESPREAD DOWNING OF TREES AND POWER LINES...CAUSING DISRUPTION
TO POWER AND POSSIBLY TRANSIT FOR SEVERAL DAYS. THESE WINDS WILL
ALSO RESULT IN SIGNIFICANT COASTAL IMPACTS...DETAILED IN THE TIDES
AND COASTAL FLOODING SECTIONS.
AS FOR RAINFALL...THE HEAVIEST RAINFALL IS EXPECTED MONDAY INTO
TUESDAY AS THE POWERFUL COASTAL STORM INTERACTS WITH INTENSE
JET/SHORTWAVE ENERGY...WITH 2 TO 6 INCHES RAINFALL POSSIBLE DURING
THIS TIME. THINKING THE HIGHEST RAINFALL AMOUNTS WILL BE SEEN
ACROSS THE CITY AND NORTHEAST NEW JERSEY...WHICH WILL BE CLOSER TO
THE CENTER OF CIRCULATION OF THE LOW WITH MORE INTENSE RAIN
EXPECTED FOR A LONGER TIME. SEE THE HYDROLOGY SECTIONS FOR MORE
ON THE FLOODING POTENTIAL.
Bloomberg seems to believe Sandy is a "less dangerous" storm than Irene was because it is no longer categorized tropical.
Those were the words he used to describe the storm when he updated the city last night - "less dangerous."
And clearly that is the storm response he and his team of geniuses are following because they have decided no evacuations of flood zones are necessary as of this time and the city is going to open on Monday morning as if it's just another rainy day in October.
But that's is not how the National Weather Service and other meteorologists are forecasting the storm will play out.
While the corporate news media hasn't picked up on Bloomberg's downplaying of the storm, The Weather Channel did.
Bryan Norcross said he was "baffled" by the city's response to the storm while Jim Cantore, down at the Battery, said the mayor's message about the storm didn't jibe with what weather experts believe may happen to the city.
Over on the weather forum, posters were all over Bloomberg last night for not taking the storm as seriously as he should and for not ordering evacuations for today.
The fear is that by the time Bloomberg and his geniuses do realize they need to evacuate people in flood zones, it will be too late to get everybody out.
If the MTA starts to shut the subways and buses down late this afternoon/early this evening, as is expected, and the bridges get shut down because of heavy winds, as may happen late this evening, how does the city get everybody evacuated from flood zones in time?
Bloomberg didn't seem to be too concerned about any of that last night.
And yet he should be.
The National Hurricane Center has increased the surge potential from the storm to 6-11 ft along Long Island Sound and in New York Harbor.
That kind of surge would easily top the walls and flood the subways.
You would really want to have people off the Rockaways and low-lying areas around the city before that kind of thing happens.
And if the city loses power due to the high winds while they're still trying to evacuate people - well, that would really be horrific.
I know I'm a big critic of the mayor on a whole host of issues, and so I'm sure some will say, "Oh, he's just criticizing like he usually does, Bloomberg is handling this fine."
But it's not just me questioning his judgement.
The weather casters at The Weather Channel and lots of people on the weather forum are questioning it too.
So far we have not seen a very strong response from the city for this storm.
The pressure for the storm as of 8:00 AM was 951 mb.
That's a similar pressure to the storm in the 90's that lasted for days and it's much lower than many hurricanes have.
This is a serious storm with tropical force winds extending out 400 miles and a storm surge expected to top 6 feet or more.
And Bloomberg said Monday is just going to be another regular work day.
Whatever information he is getting on the storm, it seems to be at odds with the information at the National Weather Center, the National Hurricane Center, The Weather Channel, Accuweather, and a host of others are getting about this storm.
Bloomberg had better hope he is right about this
UPDATE - 10:19 AM: Mayor Bloomberg is supposed to be updating the city at an 11:00 AM press conference.
The MTA has announced a 7:00 PM shut down tonight.
And one poster at the weather forums reports the following:
"Just saw a massive nypd convoy near my house coming from rockaway, esu mobile command center flood light".