Archive for the tag 'severe weather'

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for all of New York City, lasting through today and tomorrow morning, with eight inches of snow and 40 mile-per-hour wind gusts predicted.

It’s the first snowstorm of the year, and is forecast to have near-blizzard conditions and single-digit temperatures.

The snowstorm will deliver its biggest blow to New York City this evening, during the rush hour commute, when the heavier snow is expected to fall.

The Sanitation Department has already gone into snowstorm mode, loading salt spreaders at facilities across the facility.

Alternate side parking is suspended for today. Parking meters remain in effect.

Here are a few tips for weathering the storm and staying warm and safe:

  • Avoid unnecessary travel – Wet or icy roads are dangerous enough. But also avoid going out on foot or any other means. Strong winds could dislodge tree limbs or other debris, which can turn deadly.
  • Prepare for power outages – Charge all of your mobile devices and any other electronics you may need, and make sure you have fresh batteries in your radios and alarm clocks. Con Edison infrastructure is still vulnerable following Superstorm Sandy, and power lines can be knocked out.
  • We hate telling people to stock up on water, gasoline and other such supplies, but if you can, you should.
  • Check on your neighbors, especially if you live next to senior citizens or disabled people.
  • When shoveling, don’t overexert yourself, and be aware of utilities. Don’t cover up fire hydrants in mounds of snow.

The progress of snow plows can be monitored PlowNYC, set up after complaints from the 2010 blizzard.

Turn to Sheepshead Bites for the latest information from government authorities and utility companies, school, transit and road closures, as well as on-the-ground reports from readers around the neighborhood.

And remember to save our e-mail address (tips [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com), phone number (347-985-0633) and Twitter account (@sheepsheadbites) into your phone. If you see downed trees or power lines, flooding, or anything else, snap a photo with your cell phone and e-mail, text or Tweet it over.

Oh, and send all your pretty snow photos over to photos [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.


Tonight and tomorrow, NY Rising, a New York State effort leading the rebuilding and recovery of Superstorm Sandy-battered communities, is coming to the neighborhood to hear your concerns.

It’ll be the first time the group convenes locally for public input, and will reveal some of their proposals for rebuilding the neighborhood and implementing storm-protection initiatives. It’s very important that neighbors attend and give feedback, as well as bring their concerns, needs and wishes to those in the position to address them.

All information is in the flier above.


Source: Wikimedia Commons

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch until 5 p.m. today in all five borough of New York City, as well as parts of New Jersey and Long Island.

A cold front is moving into the area this afternoon, bringing with it heavy rainfall, thunder and strong winds that could hit 75 miles per hour. The agency said they expect to see minor flooding  in poor drainage areas, and in some cases, a flash flood threat.

A tornado watch is less severe than a tornado warning, and means that weather conditions are favorable for a tornado.

To find out what to do in a tornado, check out this guide from

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has issued an Air Quality Health Advisory for New York City until 11:00 p.m. tonight.

People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion today, though the general public should not be affected.

For more information please visit:


It’s no small secret that a large amount, perhaps even the majority, of Brooklynites living in Zone A failed to heed the city’s call for a mandatory evacuation during Superstorm Sandy. Some felt the storm would not be as devastating as it proved to be, and reflected on the city’s pointless mandatory evacuation during Hurricane Irene the previous year. The failure to evacuate left many in terror as the waters crashed through the streets, and some, including Manhattan Beach resident Cy Schoenfeld, perished when they could not escape the flood.

City Council candidate Igor Oberman told Sheepshead Bites that mandatory evacuations must truly be mandatory if authorities aim to keep residents safe, and is proposing repercussions for those residents who refuse to leave ahead of future storms.

“If you’re going to say it’s a mandatory evacuation, it’s mandatory,” Oberman said of the evacuation orders. “A rule has to have a kind of duel sided charge, that if you don’t follow something ithis is what happens to you. Otherwise, it’s not a rule.”

In advance of Superstorm Sandy, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Office of Emergency Management issued a mandatory evacuation order. However, the mayor made clear that the city would not force people from their homes, instead warning residents that they would be cut off from emergency services during the most perilous hours of the storm – a promise that was kept as police and firefighters largely stayed out of Zone A until the water receded.

But Oberman, who is running to replace term-limited Councilman Michael Nelson, who himself failed to evacuate during the storm, said that’s not good enough, and the city ought to do more. He suggests a series of penalties if one fails to vacate.

Find out what sort of penalties Oberman recommends if you fail to evacuate during a storm.

Temperatures are expected to float around the 100-degree mark throughout the current work week, with temperatures hitting as high as 102 degrees today. While rain is forecast to hit Friday, the temperatures won’t really begin to drop until Sunday, when it finally goes below 90 degrees.

The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for the entire city. It currently lasts until midnight tonight, but will likely be extended throughout the week. These conditions are dangerous to health, and you should avoid strenuous activity. People without air conditioning, older adults, and people with chronic health conditions are most at risk.

Be a good neighbor; if you live next door to an elderly or disabled person, or even just a family – particularly one with young children – who do not own an air conditioner, be sure to check in on them.

Additionally, the city has opened cooling centers. Most local centers are open until 4:00 p.m. today. Here are the five closest centers to the Sheepshead Bay Road area.

  • Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Senior Center – 60 West End Avenue
  • Senior Alliance Neighborhood Senior Center – 161 Corbin Place
  • Jay-Harama Neighborhood Senior Center – 2600 Ocean Avenue
  • Shorefront Neighborhood Senior Center – 3300 Coney Island Avenue
  • The Bay Neighborhood Senior Center – 3643 Nostrand Avenue

More centers can be found using this Office of Emergency Management web tool.

Don’t forget the libraries are air conditioned, or you can always sit back with a glass of iced coffee or compote at one of our local restaurants, check out the movie theater, or just meander around Loehmann’s to keep cool.

And if you plan on opening up the fire hydrants to let your kids cool down, make sure to do it legally by requesting a free spray cap from the FDNY.

Finally, review this list of symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion to make sure you know the signs and don’t overwork yourself.

Stay cool, readers. It’s going to be a long week!

Sheepshead Bay's cooling centers.

Sheepshead Bay’s cooling centers.

The National Weather Service this morning issued a heat advisory for New York City until 6 p.m. tomorrow, cautioning vulnerable populations to stay cool if they can.

With temperatures expected to hit the low-90s today and tomorrow, with high humidity and possible thunderstorms in the afternoons and evenings, people without air conditioning, older adults, and people with chronic health conditions are at risk. The city is urging these populations to avoid strenuous activity and stay indoors, with air conditioning if possible. Wear light weight and loose-fitting clothing and keep hydrated with water.

Additionally, the city has opened cooling centers will be open. Most local centers are open until 4:00 p.m. today. Here are the five closest centers to the Sheepshead Bay Road area.

  • Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Senior Center – 60 West End Avenue
  • Senior Alliance Neighborhood Senior Center – 161 Corbin Place
  • Jay-Harama Neighborhood Senior Center – 2600 Ocean Avenue
  • Shorefront Neighborhood Senior Center – 3300 Coney Island Avenue
  • The Bay Neighborhood Senior Center – 3643 Nostrand Avenue

More centers can be found using this Office of Emergency Management web tool.

Since this weather is certain to continue over the next few months, be sure to familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can be fatal. Here are some of the signs:

  • Heat exhaustion
    • Fatigue
    • Nausea
    • Headaches
    • Excessive thirst
    • Muscle aches and cramps
    • Fainting
  • Heat stroke
    • Hot, flushed, dry skin
    • Rapid heart rate
    • Decreased sweating
    • Shortness of breath
    • Confusion or delirium

You can find more about the signs and symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion at WebMD.

Of course, you can always take the day off and spend it in one of our local, air conditioned libraries, or take in a movie at the UA, or, heck, just ride the subway all day long.

Stay cool!

New evacuation map

New evacuation map

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration released a new evacuation map on Tuesday, creating a more zone system and adding 600,000 additional people to evacuation areas.

The new maps create zones numbered one through six, replacing Zones A, B and C, offering city officials more leeway in ordering specific areas to evacuate in the face of an oncoming storm and tidal surge. As many as 2,990,000 residents citywide now live in the zones – a number larger than the entire population of Brooklyn, the city’s largest borough.

Most notable, some parts of the zones extend further inland in Brooklyn and Queens, and sees areas like Gerritsen Beach – previously a secondary evacuation zone – bumped up to a primary area after it experienced extensive flooding during Superstorm Sandy.

In the new system, Zone 1 is the most vulnerable to flooding. In addition to Gerritsen Beach, Coney Island, the Rockaways, Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach and all of Sheepshead Bay south of the Belt Parkway are Zone 1.

Furthermore, the new zones include the addition of 26 Housing Authority developments, four hospitals and nine nursing homes. The administration was battered by critics after Sandy for not evacuating hospitals and nursing homes, and also for poorly responding to the needs of residents living in Housing Authority facilities.

Comparing it to the old map, it appears Zone 1, the primary evacuation zone, shrank in some areas compared to Zone A, and expanded in others. The old maps included a swath of Sheepshead Bay, from approximately Bedford Avenue to Ocean Parkway, up to Avenue X in the north, as Zone A. That’s been divided up between Zone 1 and 2. Elsewhere, including Gerritsen Beach, Mill Basin, parts of Bath Beach and the Canarsie coastline have been swapped from Zone B to Zone 1, reflecting the extent of Sandy’s flooding.

In fact, it appears that Zone 1 is based almost directly on the lines of where major flooding occurred during Sandy.

The new map and current evacuation orders can be seen here.

Do you live on a block that flooded during Sandy, but is not in Zone 1? Do you think you should be in Zone 1, or in a different zone than where you are? Let us know in the comments.


Left: old map; Right: new map (Click to enlarge)


This just in from the National Weather Service…

Notification issued on 5/23/13 at 3:30 PM. The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Warning citywide until 5:30 PM. Excessive runoff from heavy rainfall will cause flooding of urban areas, highways, streets and underpasses as well as other drainage areas and low lying spots. Do not drive your vehicle into areas where the water covers the roadway. The water depth may be too great to allow your car to cross safely. Move to higher ground.

Looks like we’re in for it again. Has your street changed since Superstorm Sandy? Does Sheepshead Bay and our surrounding communities have new flood zones? Does your yard or street flood more often now since Sandy? Let us know. Send pictures and tips to tips@ sheepsheadbites (dot) com.

The National Weather Service issued a sudden Flash Flood Warning shortly before 8:30 a.m. and lasting until 9:15 a.m., as a torrent of rainfall came down on Brooklyn, flooding homes, highways and and streets.

There was major flooding on the Belt Parkway near Cropsey Avenue, and the highway ultimately shut down for short period because of it. Eventually one lane in each direction reopened. Also near Cropsey Avenue, there were reports on the police scanner that cars were submerged on Shore Parkway, and even drifting in the current.

We heard about flooding from Plumb Beach all the way to Dyker Heights. Now that it’s over, we’re still waiting to hear about conditions in certain parts of the neighborhood, like the Plumb Beach bungalow courts and areas around Cropsey Avenue. If you know how it is, please fill us in in the comments!

Readers have kept us updated so far, sending in the following photos.

This one’s from the entrance to the Belt Parkway at Bay Parkway, going west:

Photo by Regina Sorkin.

Things aren’t much better on the Belt Parkway, even now that the rain has stopped. Reader Rachel Tarantul sent us a photo taken just a few minutes after 10:00 a.m. that shows water sitting in two lanes of the highway, and only one lane is open in each direction. She says traffic is terrible.

And this was by the Cropsey bus depot:

Photo by Regina Sorkin.

Along the border of Coney Island and Brighton Beach, this is from the parking lot of 601 Surf Avenue:

Photo by Regina Sorkin.

We’re also hearing about homes and building basements flooding. A reader tweeted to us that a Sheepshead Bay apartment building on Homecrest Avenue near Avenue Z had several inches of water. Our own Elle Spektor is dealing with a flooded basement in her Bensonhurst home. Here’s what it looked like in the streets near her:

And here’s one of a flooded Sheepshead Bay garage, on Avenue W and East 26th Street, from reader Danil Rudoy:

Nearby, on Avenue V between Brigham Street and Brown Street, reader nolastname snapped this. There’s about two inches of water filling up the alleyway.

In Manhattan Beach – an area that has certainly seen more than enough water lately – Albert Hasson sent us this photo of a car trying to get through what appears to be at least a foot of water on Ocean Avenue:

Hopefully now that the rain stopped – and almost exactly at 9:15 a.m., as the National Weather Service predicted – the water is receding and things getting back to normal. Make sure to let us know if there’s any lasting damage or floodwater in your area, and send photos and other information to nberke [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

Updated (10:49 a.m.) to add the photo from nolastname.

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