50,000 Without Power in New York City

Newsday - August 28, 2011

by EMILY NGO AND SOPHIA CHANG

As New York City residents awoke Sunday morning to the soggy vestiges of Hurricane Irene, there were no reports of serious injuries or deaths, but more than 50,000 people were without power, Con Ed officials and Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway said. About 10,000 of the 370,000 New Yorkers ordered to evacuate their homes were staying in city storm shelters, he said at the Office of Emergency Management headquarters in Brooklyn.

"People really listened. We've had no security issues. No supply issues," Holloway said. "Those who haven't evacuated are staying indoors. ... People appear to be doing exactly what we asked them to do."

It was not known how many people were staying with friends and families or had chosen to defy evacuation orders.

Con Ed officials were prepared to shut down some parts of the electrical grid to protect the system, but had not done so as Sunday morning. About 53,000 city customers were without power, they said.

It could take days for the power to be restored.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg was expected to speak at noon from NYPD headquarters in lower Manhattan, close to imperiled Battery Park City, which was under close watch for flooding Sunday morning as high tide was to coincide with a storm surge.

The Fire Department reported rescuing 26 people from three flooded homes in Staten Island on Sunday. No injuries were reported and it was unclear where the evacuees would go. The location of the flooded homes was not available but they were all within a three-block radius, a FDNY spokesman said.

The Battery Park Underpass was closed due to flooding. No major bridges had been closed, though they will be shut off to traffic if winds exceed 15 miles per hour, officials said. The Department of Transportation checked into reports of Belt Parkway flooding but saw no seawall breach or collapse. The north tube of the Holland Tunnel is now open.

Overnight, the volume of EMS calls were no higher than expected for a normal day for this time of year, Holloway said. Fire calls were up by 50 percent with reports of downed trees and wires, he said.

Holloway and city Office of Emergency Management Joe Bruno said the city was already planning for the extensive citywide cleanup.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Irene cut off power to 750,000 homes and businesses across the state.

More than half the outages are on Long Island, Cuomo's office said. About a tenth of the outages are in New York City.