After expecting big NYC Hurricane, Battery Park residents are , today, counting their lucky stars, with minimal damage being assessed in the aftermath of Irene.
Having wreaked havoc in the Bahamas and having begun its approach towards the North Carolina coastline, meteorologists in the United States began to realize last week that this storm (which topped out at a category 3) would create some very unlikely and unsuspecting victims. In judging the trajectory of Irene, it became pretty obvious that the Northeast, and New York City in particular, would be coming face-to-face with Irene. Although New Yorkers had on Wednesday, August 24th, just endured their first earthquake since 1884, many wondered how in the world this Northeastern city would cope with this new approaching danger.
This NYC hurricane was expected to do great damage to certain areas of the city, especially neighborhoods such as Battery Park, Sheepshead Bay, and far Rockaway. The last few NYC hurricane experiences have left Battery Park with 11-foot tides (Hurricane Donna, 1960) and other incidences of serious flooding. With Battery Park City having been constructed at near sea level by way of land reclamation from the Hudson as recently as 1976, officials urged its complete evacuation, and that of other downtown Manhattan neighborhoods. By Saturday afternoon, this NYC hurricane had transformed Battery Park and adjoining neighborhoods into virtual ghost towns.
Today, while states such as North Carolina and New Jersey face tens of billions of dollars in damages and burdensome power outages from Irene’s aftermath, officials in New York are expecting a minimal level of reported storm damages. In fact experts are now classifying this one-time NYC “hurricane” as a mere tropical storm. Having dodged danger, many in areas like Battery Park are able to return to their neighborhoods and breathe a big sigh of relief.