Sep. 15, 2023 By Ethan Marshall
With Hurricane Lee churning its way to New England and Maritime Canada this weekend, the New York City Emergency Management Department issued an advisory to coastal New York City communities, warning them to be ready for potential coastal flooding and hazardous beach conditions, particularly in Jamaica Bay and The Rockaways, from today through Sunday.
According to the National Hurricane Center, as of Friday morning, Hurricane Lee was moving north from Bermuda towards New England and Maine. It is expected to hit southern portions of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia Saturday. These areas are likely to experience tropical storm conditions this afternoon and continue through Saturday.
Southern Queens will have a Coastal Flood Advisory in effect from Friday at 6 p.m. until Sunday at 3 a.m. Northern Queens, along with the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island, will have a Coastal Flood Statement in effect from Friday at 6 p.m. until Sunday at 5 a.m.
Jamaica Bay and the Rockaways reportedly appear to be among the most vulnerable areas to the incoming weather. According to the Emergency Management Department, Jamaica Bay could see inundation levels of between one and two feet above normally dry ground during the three high tide cycles from Friday night to early Sunday morning. The north shore of the Rockaways also faces heightened vulnerability due to winds gusting up to 35 miles per hour out of the north.
Roads, parking lots and properties located in low-lying areas near shorelines across the city are likely to experience at least minor flooding. Dune and beach erosion may occur as a result of breaking waves measuring six to 10 feet. Life-threatening rip currents are also expected to last until at last Saturday night.
“While city beaches have closed to swimming for the season, they do remain open to surfers, and we are advising caution when entering the water this weekend,” NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue said. “Despite being some of the strongest swimmers in the city, we are urging surfers to be aware of the high rip current risk as we experience the aftereffects of Hurricane Lee.”
To ensure real-time awareness and a coordinated response, NYC Emergency Management is organizing specialized interagency briefings to keep the public well-informed of emerging risks, fine-tune operational strategies specific to coastal flooding and reinforce its readiness for scaled-up emergency responses. Critical assets and specialized units will be on standby prepared for activation as conditions necessitate.
“For New Yorkers in our coastal communities, consider this a reminder to be prepared, particularly during hurricane season,” NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Zach Iscol said. “Challenges are a part of life in our great city, and the best way to meet them is through proactive preparedness. Now’s a good time to check your emergency plans, help out your neighbors, and stay updated via Notify NYC.”
As conditions continue to develop, NYC Emergency Management will provide residents with the most current information and guidelines. It is recommended that residents go to NYC.gov/SevereWeather for safety tips. Before and during an emergency, emergency alerts and updates will be sent through channels like Notify NYC, the City’s free emergency notification system. Through Notify NYC, New Yorkers can receive phone calls, text messages and/or emails alerts about traffic and transit disruptions and other emergencies.