As warnings about the oncoming Hurricane Irene became more dire last week, Hoboken residents stocked up on emergency supplies or prepared to leave town, moves that were urged by Mayor Dawn Zimmer starting Wednesday.
The hurricane was expected to hit Hoboken as a Category 2 storm with winds that could top 100 miles per hour – a rare occurrence in New Jersey, as hurricanes often lose strength when traveling north in the Atlantic Ocean.
Hoboken officials were especially concerned because parts of Hoboken are under sea level, and a direct hit from a hurricane – something that hasn’t happened in decades – could put the city under two stories of water or more. Hoboken already has flooding problems in its lowest lying areas, a problem the city and sewerage authority are working on (see last week’s cover story).
For emergencies, call 911 or the Hoboken Police Department at (201) 420-2100.
Residents who cannot leave Hoboken and need shelter were asked to go to the Wallace School at 1100 Willow Ave. beginning on Aug. 27 at 9 a.m. The high school is not being used as a shelter. The city said it would bus people to Union City if Wallace overflowed.
The city was expected to run buses to the shelter at the Wallace School beginning on Aug. 27. Pickup locations were scheduled for Third and Jackson streets, First and Bloomfield streets, Fifth Street and Willow Avenue, and 12th and Hudson streets. Buses were scheduled to pick up residents on Aug. 27 at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m., and 6 p.m. and transport them to the Wallace School.
Generators were put in place by the city in case they were necessary at emergency locations.
Many city workers were expected to work all weekend to help residents cope with the possible damage.
The city released a map showing that most of the perimeter of town would flood if hit with a Category 1 hurricane. Most of the city west of Garden Street would be expected to flood. If a Category 2 hurricane hit Hoboken, only a small portion of midtown Hoboken would be protected from flooding waters, according to a map model (pictured) for Hoboken from SLOSH (Sea, Lake and Overland Surges from Hurricanes).
A Category 3 storm would cause the entire city to flood, according to the map.
Residents were advised last week to seriously consider moving their vehicles outside of Hoboken, due to the potential for flooding.
Who to call/preparation
Senior citizens and others with special needs (such as the need for electrical medical equipment) who need assistance with evacuation are asked to notify the Emergency Operations Center by calling (201) 239-6643/6644.
The E.O.C. will be open 24 hours a day. For emergencies, residents should call 911 or the Hoboken Police Department at (201) 420-2100 and Hoboken Fire Department at (201) 420-2005/2007.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency suggests that residents prepare a basic emergency supply kit. The kit should include one gallon of water per person each day for at least three days, a three-day supply of non-perishable food, a battery-powered radio, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first aid kit, and a dust mask to filter contaminated air.
Other storm safety tips include: Covering your home windows with plywood, bringing in outdoor furniture, trimming trees and shrubs, turning off propane tanks, installing a generator, reinforcing garage doors, and filling large containers with water for supply purposes.
For more information, visit http://www.ready.gov/america/beinformed/hurricanes.html#link2.
Watch hudsonreporter.com in the coming week for more updates. Send hurricane photos and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ray Smith may be reached at RSmith@hudsonreporter.com