New York City will return to work on Monday morning following the passing of Hurricane Irene which had prompted the unprecedented halt of the city’s transport infrastructure and evacuation of residents from low lying areas. Around nine people are believed to have died in storm related incidents in North Carolina when the storm made first land fall. The hurricane uprooted trees and flood water made roads impassable.
The National Guard had been called in to help marshal evacuees and rescue trapped New Yorkers as the storm, which was as large as California, slowly turned over the city. President Obama had warned citizens to obey orders to evacuate and police cordoned off bridges.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has now declared that city employees will be expected to return to work on Monday, though they will not be penalised for being late as the transit system is not expected to return to full capacity for some days. He said of continued flooding:
“As we anticipated, the storm surge has caused serious flooding across the five boroughs, including here in Lower Manhattan, where the East and Hudson Rivers are flowing over their banks and into the parks and low-lying streets at the water’s edge. We did have substantial erosion at the Staten Island beaches and in the Rockaways, where the waves breached 94th Street between 127th and 132nd Streets.
“On the West Side of Manhattan, water was flowing over the docks when I was by earlier at the Boat Basin in Riverside Park. I’m told the Bronx, Orchard Beach is under water, as is Mill Pond Park and the riverfront lots at Yankee Stadium. The Bronx River is moving very fast, and people should stay away from flooded areas and river in particular. If you were to fall into the Bronx River, it’s really hard to see how emergency personnel could get to you in time. In Brooklyn, the eastbound Belt Parkway still is flooded as of last report due to the collapse of a retaining wall.”
Widespread power outages have affected around 62,000 households, though Con Ed expect to restore most electricity within 48 hours. The New York Stock exchange and other financial markets are expected to open on time on Monday morning.