Friday, August 26, 2011

NYC Evacuations may take place on Shabbat

As of early morning Friday forecasts, Hurricane Irene is set to hit North Carolina on Saturday morning local time, setting off what will be a predicted 36 hours of "destruction" until weakening to a tropical storm around Boston on late Sunday night.

In New York City, the storm is expected to hit early Sunday morning. According to Yeshiva World News, the call to evacuate low-lying areas may be made as late as Saturday morning, during Shabbat, posing a challenge for observant Jews. NYC Mayor Bloomberg's spokesperson made the following statement to YWN on Thursday:
Right now, we’re encouraging people with family who are shut-ins in low-lying areas like the Rockaways, Coney Island and Manhattan Beach, and the eastern edge of Staten Island to bring them to higher land on Friday. But there’s a possibility that on Saturday morning, the hurricane’s track may require mandatory evacuations of these areas before Shabbos is over. If you have family or friends in a low-lying area, it might not be the worst idea to invite them to you for Shabbos.
...As regards to the general public, we will make a decision about whether to order a mandatory evacuation of Zone A low-lying areas by 8:00 AM Saturday, the day after tomorrow. However, we recommend that people start going to alternative locations if they have them because of potential traffic jams and mass transit limitations on Saturday that Jay Walder is going to discuss in a couple of minutes. So if you live in one of these communities and have a relative or friend you can stay with in a safer, less vulnerable areas, you should think about arranging to stay there until the storm passes.
See here for the map of NYC Hurricane evacuation zones which will take effect should the mayor make the call Friday or Saturday.

Wishing all those in Irene's path a safe Shabbat, preferably on high land.

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