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Landfall, Saturday, August 27th-Sunday, August 28th

Dear NYDIS Members and Partners:

In anticipation of Hurricane Irene making landfall in New York City and in preparation for its impact on FEMA Region I & II, NYDIS has now activated its response staff and is placing its members on alert. The Mayor and the NYC Office of Emergency Management have provided the information and recommendations below to mitigate the impact of this storm on life and property. Please read it and act now if you are in harm's way.

NYDIS and its members are working hard to keep our faith communities, their congregations and social service facilities informed about the storm's progress and to prepare our clients, staff and the public.

Our members will be in constant contact throughout the weekend, and will convene Monday morning to begin the process of assessing impacts and responding to unmet needs of individuals and communities affected by Irene.

At this time, we ask for your cooperation in spreading the word about mitigation and preparedness best practices and information. Irene is being classified as a "historic storm" for this region; we ask for your prayers to keep us safe and shield us from all harm to person or property.

Please remember us on Monday. Hurricane Irene recovery costs are projected to be in the billions. We don't know yet what the human costs will be, but NYDIS and its members will need your generous support to meet the unmet needs of impacted families. Please consider making a cash donation.

Ruth Yoder Wenger
Executive Vice-President
On Behalf of the Board of Directors & Members of NYDIS

Be A Ready Congregation:

Faith-Based Resources:

  • NYDIS Alert News: (Click Here)
  • NYDIS Disaster Spiritual Care/Mental Health Manual for Religious Leaders: (Click Here)
  • NDIN Disaster Tip Sheets for U.S. Religious Leaders: (Click Here)
  • NDIN iNET - Free e-news for Faith-based Disaster Leaders : (Click Here)

Evacuation & Emergency Updates Resources:

  • Hurricane Evacuation Zone Finder: (Click Here) or call 311
  • NYC Hurricane Evacuation Zone Map (PDF): (Click Here)
  • Ready New York Hurricanes Guide (11 Different Languages): (Click Here)
  • Sign up for Notify NYC, the City's emergency notification system at: www.NYC.gov/notify.
  • Check OEM's website for important information at: www.NYC.gov/oem.

Disaster Assistance & Recovery Resources:

  • American Red Cross "Safe & Well" (Missing Persons): (Click Here)
  • FEMA Disaster Help & Resources - DisasterAssistance.Gov: (Click Here)


  • Because Irene is now bearing down on us at a faster speed, New York City is issuing a mandatory evacuation order for residents in all five boroughs living in the low-lying Zone "A" coastal areas that are at greatest risk of damage related to Irene, including all parts of the Rockaways.
  • DOHMH is working with senior homes and nursing homes, and the two hospitals in the Zone "B" part of the Rockaways, to try to find alternative sites for their residents.
  • Rockaway residents in private homes must evacuate due to its exposure to the ocean and the potential that emergency services may not be provided due to the closing of bridges.
  • People should be out of these areas by 5 PM Saturday. The high-velocity winds and very high tides predicted for this storm will jeopardize public safety. The low-lying coastal areas that may be endangered by a storm surge include: Coney Island and Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn; Far Rockaway and Broad Channel in Queens; South Beach, Midland Beach, and other low-lying areas on Staten Island; Battery Park City in Manhattan; and some small sections of the Bronx.
  • New York City has never before ordered a mandatory evacuation - Irene is considered very dangerous.

MTA SHUTDOWN: Starts Saturday at 12 noon - by order of the governor. 

  • MTA service, including subways, buses, and railroads, will begin to shut down at noon on Saturday.
  • Depending on the effects of the storm, MTA service may not be restored in time for rush hour Monday morning.

SHELTER: Stay with friends/family; if not, get to an Evacuation Center or Shelter.

  • As of 4 PM Friday, New York City is opening 91 emergency facilities. They're a combination of evacuation centers and emergency shelters. They're being staffed by City employees, some on a volunteer basis. The City has the capacity to expand that system greatly if needed. 
  • On Thursday, the Mayor issued an executive order directing all hospitals, nursing homes, and senior homes in low-lying coastal areas to evacuate their patients, directing them to complete this process by 8 PM on Friday.
  • There are five hospitals in this zone. All of them - Coney Island Hospital, both campuses of Staten Island University Hospital, the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Manhattan, and NYU Medical Center on Manhattan's East Side - are evacuating their patients to other hospitals.
  • Yesterday's Executive Order also covered eight nursing homes, one psychiatric facility, and eight adult care facilities. All of them are evacuating as well.

STORM DETAILS: A Category 1 Hurricane is projected, with 40-74 MPH winds.

  • The National Weather Service has put the entire New York metropolitan area under a hurricane watch - which means that sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or more are forecast for Saturday evening through Sunday.
  • The current forecast is that Irene will reach the New York metropolitan area as a Category 1 storm. The ground speed of the storm has accelerated; gale-force winds of 40 MPH will reach us by 9 PM Saturday.
  • City officials do not yet know where the full brunt of the storm will be felt.
  • But in any case, Irene is going to hit New York City with very high winds and heavy rains Saturday night and all through Sunday. It's going to be a very dangerous storm, especially in low-lying areas of the city.


  • Among the vulnerable populations with special needs, the City is concentrating on the homeless.
  • There are four homeless shelters for families and four shelters for single adults in Zone A. The clients of these shelters will be relocated to the Bedford Atlantic shelter in Brooklyn and the El Camino shelter in Jamaica, Queens.
  • The City is moving clients out of their intake center at 30th Street and 1st Avenue in Manhattan.
  • Outreach teams are stepping up their activity to bring street/homeless clients indoors, as well as taking steps to help those who, because of age, illness, or disability, are homebound.
  • On a case-by-case basis, the City will authorize "sleep-in services" to help clients who have complex needs and no other supports in the community.
  • There are also 15 foster care residential facilities in Zone A. The Administration for Children's Services is working closely with the agencies operating these programs to ensure that each facility has a safety plan in place for all children at these facilities.


  • The nyc.gov website is currently experiencing more than three times its average volume of traffic, which has made access to the site's Hurricane resources problematic for some.
  • Yesterday, www.nyc.gov had 4.3 million hits - shattering the previous high of 2.2 million on January 26th. To alleviate this pressure, they began adding additional servers yesterday and are also off-loading some traffic to external commercial servers.
  • NYC.gov is now up and running, but if you are unable to access the site at any time over the weekend, you can receive updates via Twitter from @nycmayorsoffice and @notifynyc.
  • But if you can't get through using nyc.gov, call 311.

GENERAL SAFETY TIPS: during the hurricane take the following precautions.

  • First, stay indoors.
  • Second, avoid being near glass windows. There's a risk of flying debris shattering windows, and that risk increases if you're in a high-rise, on the 10th floor or higher.
  • For your own safety, stay in rooms with few or no windows, and close the doors to the room.
  • If you live in an apartment on the 10th floor or above, consider asking to stay in an apartment on a lower floor, as the risk of a window blowing out is greater on higher floors.
  • Don't stand or congregate in a glassed-in lobby or atrium.
  • As a precaution, fill a clean bathtub or sink with potable water.  Many apartment buildings have basement or rooftop mechanical equipment, such as water towers, pumps, and water heaters, which may be damaged by flooding.
  • High-rise residents should also be aware that flooding or wind damage may cause power outages that will prevent elevators from operating.
  • Because of the danger of falling limbs or trees, for your own safety stay out of City parks on Sunday. 
  • Immediately fill all Rx Prescriptions you'll need before next week.
  • Don't forget to plan for your pet's needs - food, water and bathroom breaks.


  • The Department of Buildings is issuing a stop-work order that will suspend all construction in the five boroughs from 2 PM Saturday until 7 AM Monday.
  • This includes renovations at City Hall and also extends to the operation of tower cranes at the World Trade Center Site. 
  • Currently, 13 of the 24 tower cranes active in the city are located at the World Trade Center site.
  • This work stoppage will not, however, adversely affect the scheduled opening of the 9/11 Memorial for the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
  • Since Wednesday, inspectors have been inspecting construction sites across the city to ensure equipment is properly secured.
  • Working with other City agencies, they will continue conducting inspections over the weekend to make sure the stop-work order is being followed.
  • The Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Transportation are inspecting dozens of flood-prone locations to make sure catch basins are clear and able to handle the extra rain water.


  • As Irene approaches, keeping City streets free for buses and emergency vehicles is crucial.
  • For that reason, alternate side parking and meter rules are suspended Sunday and Monday.
  • To ease travel around the City, starting at 9 AM Saturday the City will implement a " zone-fare" plan that will make most rides less expensive and that will encourage group rides and permit livery drivers to make street pick-ups.
  • When and if driving conditions become too hazardous, the Taxi & Limousine Commission has the ability to send text messages to all drivers advising them accordingly.
  • If sustained wind speeds reach 46 MPH and navigation becomes difficult, the City may stop Staten Island Ferry service.
  • Commuter ferry services operated by the Economic Development Corporation will stop after Friday evening's rush hour.
  • Once wind speeds reach 50 MPH, the City may close City bridges.


  • To clear City streets, the City revoked permits for street fairs, block parties, and similar events on Sunday, and on Saturday as well in Zone A (low-lying areas).
  • And as to any such activities in any other part of the city scheduled for Saturday, the City amended their permits to require that they stop serving the public by 2 p.m.
  • City beaches will be closed Saturday and Sunday and will remain closed until they can be operated safely.
  • Similar restrictions have been placed on outdoor TV and film permits.
  • Marinas run by the Parks Department will be closed starting at 6 PM Saturday.  All customers will be required to leave.  
  • The Dave Matthews concert on Governors Island will take place tonight; the concerts scheduled for Saturday and Sunday are cancelled.
  • The Mets games Saturday and Sunday have been cancelled.
  • Fans going to the Jets-Giants game Saturday should know that MTA service likely will not be available to them.


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