Home Asides MTA statement on preparedness for Hurricane Irene

MTA statement on preparedness for Hurricane Irene

by Benjamin Kabak

As The Weather Channel lays out right here in painstaking detail, a major hurricane is currently on course to hit the northeast this weekend. Hurricane Irene has the potential to be among the strongest storms to hit the area in decades, and concerns over a storm surge are rising. As with any major rainstorm, the subways are indeed vulnerable, and the MTA is currently working on plans concerning flood-prone areas of the transit system.

This afternoon, I checked in with the authority, and they issued the following statement in advance of the storm: “The MTA is working closely with the Governor’s Office, the Mayor’s Office, State, City and County OEMs to track the storm and begin coordinated preparations. Internally, we are making arrangements to bring in extra personnel over the weekend, preparing our facilities and infrastructure by clearing drains, securing work sites against possible high winds, checking and fueling equipment, stocking supplies, and establishing plans to move equipment and supplies away from low-lying areas as needed.”

Right now, a few days out, the storm is something the MTA appears to be taking seriously. After getting blindsided by a snow storm in December and impacted by rain a week or two ago, the threat of serious weather has Transit on alert. I’ll provide any updates that come my way as the week progresses (and, on an unrelated note, I’ll have a post up about the Straphangers’ latest report this evening).

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Anon August 24, 2011 - 8:06 pm


Brian H August 24, 2011 - 8:45 pm

During a winter storm, the MTA takes trains out of service and stores them on the express tracks of the underground lines. From that statement – particularly the part about moving assets out of low-lying areas – it seems like that’s the last thing you want to do when you’re expecting a hurricane?

Does anyone remember what they did in 1999 when Floyd came through at tropical storm strength? I remember a rainstorm flooded a number of lines just a week or two before that as well, yet they came out of Floyd just fine, seemingly.

Brian H August 24, 2011 - 8:48 pm

And on a partly unrelated note, Ben, should I assume hurricane-preparedness is why Media Relations is too busy to respond to my messages about the platform closure in Brooklyn that they changed from one week to ten, but left all the signs up that said one week?


Donald August 24, 2011 - 8:47 pm

If things get bad, hopefully they will be smart enough to not send out buses so that they don’t get stuck on flodded streets. Unfortunately, they sent out buses during the blizzard and that turned out to be a horrible mistake.

R. Graham August 24, 2011 - 10:15 pm

And then the city was criticized for not clearing streets. Had they not sent out a bus to get stuck people would complain that they didn’t send buses. No matter what the MTA tries. They lose no matter what.

Larry Littlefield August 25, 2011 - 9:09 am

If the MTA moves trains out of Coney Island to prevent their destruction by flooding, Monday rush hour will be affected, and the agency will face a wave of public outrage for its incompetence.

I can just hear those red-faced state legislators screaming into the cameras.

I wonder if, politically, it is better to let a huge share of the subway car fleet be destroyed and then appeal for federal disaster aid.

Alex C August 25, 2011 - 2:27 am

Subway system has to be shut down. No ifs ands or buts. Let everyone know now in advance and begin planning immediately. If it comes in with 80-100 mph winds as Weather Channel says it will, the steel elevateds are not safe. The entire IRT is at risk since construction there simply did not consider severe events at all. High winds + the entire southern Brooklyn BMT being oceanside means those portions will most certainly need to be shut down in advance. Coney Island and Ave X yards will need to be cleared out and those trains stored underground. And of course, do anything and everything to prevent water getting into the underground portion of the system. 80-100 mph winds in NYC is nothing to scoff at, especially with the storm surge that will likely accompany this hurricane.

Streetsblog New York City » Today’s Headlines August 25, 2011 - 8:59 am

[…] MTA Prepares for Hurricane Irene (Second Ave Sagas) […]

Streetsblog New York City » Natural Disaster Open Thread August 25, 2011 - 11:55 am

[…] Hoboken residents to leave town (or at least move their cars). The MTA, for its part, is reportedly battening down the hatches and bringing in extra personnel. Irene updates are lighting up the Streetsblog Twitter feed; […]

Just A. Littlecommonsense August 25, 2011 - 1:53 pm

“IF” a storm with sustained winds of 80-100 miles an hour is expected to hit NYC it would be extremely dangerous for passengers and MTA personnel. SERVICE SHOULD BE HALTED
Flying debris and passengers blown onto the tracks on elevated platforms is a definite possibility ! The flooding of underground stations with a possible 12 inches of rain coming is a real danger that has to be considered. — Water and 600 volts don’t mix well.

The MTA fouled up with the 2011 Blizzard and I wonder how long they took to check out the river tubes after last weeks earthquake,believe me service wasn’t stopped at all. The Port Authority had the GW bridge and tunnels checked immediately.

Kes August 28, 2011 - 2:50 pm

(Sun 8/28 2:48pm) What doesn’t make sense is the mayor saying “business as usual Monday” without mass transit. Getting mass transit out of harm’s way made sense. Reviewing the system carefully before restarting makes sense. And we dodged a bullet when the hurricane calmed down, although there is still a lot of damage. But other places got hit a lot worse than NYC. But you can’t treat Monday as “business as usual” when people can’t get to work. Not everyone can hail a cab/car service, or car pool, and not everyone can walk to work. Business as usual is not realistic.


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