1999-09-18 / Front Page

Is Rockaway Prepared?

Facing Floyd’s Fury

As Hurricane Floyd threatened the southeast of the country on Thursday, city officials said they were keeping a "close eye" on the storm and were prepared to implement a number of emergency plans.

Although it looked like Rockaway was going to avoid the full force of the hurricane and be hit instead with drenching rainfall and flooding, evacuation plans were being reviewed at City Hall.

Should Rockaway face a mandatory evacuation because of Hurricane Floyd (or any ensuing storm), MTA Bridges and Tunnels told The Wave that all four lanes on the Marine Parkway-Gill Hodges bridge could be used outbound to Brooklyn, if necessary. Frank Pascual, an MTA rep, said work being done on the span is at "a very early stage" so accommodating bumper-to-bumper traffic across all lanes would present no danger.

The Cross Bay bridge would likewise be used by fleeing motorists.

Residents in Far Rockaway would likely head towards the Nassau border and a "coastal evacuation route" which begins on 878, at the Nassau County line.

Many residents, however, say this route is ridiculous because it often floods with heavy rain, far short of hurricane status.

If the city has exact evacuation plans they remain a mystery to most. The Wave has never received such plans, and no one attending the community board meeting on Tuesday, including several elected officials, were aware of a plan.

LIPA/KEYSPAN was gearing up as emergency personnel was put on alert. Any problems can be reported to LIPA by calling 1-800-490-0075 or an emergency beeper number: 1-888-918-LIPA.

Governor Pataki put the New York National Guard on 24-hour alert and signaled the State Emergency Management Office to be ready.

Mayor Guiliani announced that New York City schools were closed on Thursday, September 16 and requested that businesses close their offices by early afternoon.

For updated information, assistance and locations of shelters if an evacuation is instituted, contact the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management at 1-888-663-0075.

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