Gov. Cuomo declared a state of emergency on Friday and city officials considered evacuating as many as 375,000 New Yorkers as Hurricane Sandy moved up the coast. With the deadly hurricane expected to smash into the city as early as Sunday, Mayor Bloomberg said he’d make a decision about evacuation by late Saturday.
“We are taking all the steps that we need to take,” Bloomberg said during a hastily called afternoon press conference. “But the storm is moving at a rate that we’re still not going to have a good sense of when and where it’s going to hit land.”
The city was also deciding whether to cancel school on Monday.
The superstorm has the potential to be one of the worst in the city’s history with major flooding and sustained winds of up to 80 mph for at least 24 hours, State Division of Homeland Security commissioner Jerome Hauer said.
“They’re saying it’s a worst case,” he warned. “It certainly has a possibility of being one of the worst.”
Hauer said the city could face even more devastating storm surge flooding than was anticipated during Irene last year when large swaths of the city were evacuated and the subways were shut down for the first time in history.