By Raanan Geberer
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Mayor Michael Bloomberg asked residents of Gerritsen Beach in southern Brooklyn, along with Breezy Point in Queens and Hamilton Beach in Staten Island to evacuate late yesterday afternoon.
Gerritsen Beach, of course, was one of the areas in Brooklyn that was most heavily hit by Superstorm Sandy. Bloomberg spoke at a press conference at City Hall to warn New Yorkers about the effect of the nor’easter, which was beginning even as he spoke.
While many people in these areas can go to stay with friends or relatives, the mayor said, he advised those who can’t to stay in city shelters. Buses were made available to take them to shelters, and each shelter has at least one door that can accommodate wheelchairs, he said.
There is a happier alternative -- many users on airbnb.com, an informal bed-and-breakfast website, are making rooms available to victims of the new storm.
Because of high winds approaching 60 mph at times, any neighborhood could experience tree damage, which could knock out power lines, said Bloomberg.
However, he said, the main problems would come from coastal areas already devastated by Sandy. And in these areas, he added, damage might be worse, because the sand barriers to ocean flooding and high waves have likely been destroyed by last week’s superstorm.
Of those people who are still left without electric power by Sandy, he said, the majority – between 30,000 and 40,000 – have had their houses’ electrical systems damaged by salt water. If a circuit-breaker or electric wiring that salt on it is suddenly turned on, said the mayor, it could explode.
The mayor also announced a new innovation – warming centers. Like the familiar “cooling centers” in schools, senior centers and libraries that are designed for people without air conditioning, the warming centers are designed for those who still don’t have heat. A new warming center, he said, just opened in Red Hook.
In addition, 100 electric space heaters have been distributed to people in Broad Channel and the Rockaways.