At 5:52 AM today, the National Weather Service issued the following Hazardous Weather Outlook for the New York metropolitan area:
HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK...CORRECTED NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW YORK NY 552 AM EDT TUE OCT 4 2016 ANZ330-335-338-340-345-350-353-355-CTZ005>012-NJZ002-004-006-103>108- NYZ067>075-078>081-176>179-042200- LONG ISLAND SOUND EAST OF NEW HAVEN CT/PORT JEFFERSON NY- LONG ISLAND SOUND WEST OF NEW HAVEN CT/PORT JEFFERSON NY- NEW YORK HARBOR-PECONIC AND GARDINERS BAYS- SOUTH SHORE BAYS FROM JONES INLET THROUGH SHINNECOCK BAY- MORICHES INLET NY TO MONTAUK POINT NY OUT 20 NM- FIRE ISLAND INLET NY TO MORICHES INLET NY OUT 20 NM- SANDY HOOK NJ TO FIRE ISLAND INLET NY OUT 20 NM-NORTHERN FAIRFIELD- NORTHERN NEW HAVEN-NORTHERN MIDDLESEX-NORTHERN NEW LONDON- SOUTHERN FAIRFIELD-SOUTHERN NEW HAVEN-SOUTHERN MIDDLESEX- SOUTHERN NEW LONDON-WESTERN PASSAIC-EASTERN PASSAIC-HUDSON- WESTERN BERGEN-EASTERN BERGEN-WESTERN ESSEX-EASTERN ESSEX- WESTERN UNION-EASTERN UNION-ORANGE-PUTNAM-ROCKLAND- NORTHERN WESTCHESTER-SOUTHERN WESTCHESTER-NEW YORK (MANHATTAN)-BRONX- RICHMOND (STATEN ISLAND)-KINGS (BROOKLYN)-NORTHWESTERN SUFFOLK- NORTHEASTERN SUFFOLK-SOUTHWESTERN SUFFOLK-SOUTHEASTERN SUFFOLK- NORTHERN QUEENS-NORTHERN NASSAU-SOUTHERN QUEENS-SOUTHERN NASSAU- 552 AM EDT TUE OCT 4 2016 THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR ATLANTIC COASTAL WATERS...SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT...NORTHEAST NEW JERSEY AND SOUTHEAST NEW YORK. .DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT. HAZARDOUS WEATHER IS NOT EXPECTED AT THIS TIME. .DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...WEDNESDAY THROUGH MONDAY. REFER TO THE LATEST NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER ADVISORIES FOR TRACK AND INTENSITY INFORMATION ON HURRICANE MATTHEW...WHICH IS FORECAST TO BE JUST OFF THE SOUTHEAST COAST ON SATURDAY. THERE IS STILL MUCH UNCERTAINTY WITH THE TRACK OF THIS SYSTEM AS WE HEAD INTO THIS WEEKEND AND TOO EARLY TO MENTION SPECIFIC IMPACTS. .SPOTTER INFORMATION STATEMENT... SPOTTER ACTIVATION IS NOT EXPECTED AT THIS TIME. && THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK PROVIDES A SUMMARY OF POTENTIAL WIDESPREAD HAZARDOUS WEATHER EVENTS THAT MAY REACH NWS WARNING CRITERIA. MOST LONG FUSED NWS WATCHES...WARNINGS AND ADVISORIES IN EFFECT ARE HIGHLIGHTED. PLEASE REFER TO THE LATEST NWS FORECASTS FOR WEATHER NOT MEETING NWS WARNING CRITERIA. $$
As you can see from the above forecast map, Hurricane Matthew, currently a Category 4 hurricane, is pummeling Hispaniola and Cuba with massive amounts of rain and wind speeds of 145 mph.
The State of Florida has issued a hurricane watch, advising residents to prepare for severe weather. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has declared a state of emergency for portions of his state.
How will this affect New York City and New York Comic Con? It’s too soon to tell, as hurricane storm paths can vary depending on other weather patterns.
As you can see in this map, Javits, one block from the Hudson River, is partially in FEMA’s flood zones.
What damage did the Javits Center sustain from Sandy in 2012? According to Gifts and Decorative Accessories:
Water entered the Javits Center during the storm Monday night because of the venue’s location on 12th Ave. (within close proximity to the Henry Hudson River). Some water reached the loading docks and Level 1 of the exhibitor floor, but within 24 hours, all water was removed, according to Leslie Buxton, a spokesperson for Javits.
“Assessment of the damage was determined and restoration of the area has commenced,” Buxton told Gifts and Decorative Accessories. “Electricity went out in Manhattan below 34th Street and has yet to be restored. Due to internal generators, the Javits Center was not affected by power outages.”
One show was rescheduled for November, another cancelled, but other scheduled shows proceeded as scheduled.
It won’t be a Poseidon Adventure if there is flooding, just the usual water damage. Besides, if that happens, Javits will be cleared long before any water reaches the building.
Local residents will recall Superstorm Sandy in 2012, which occurred at the end of October. Most of that damage was caused by a storm surge (storm strength overlapped with high tide), which flooded subway tunnels and electrical substations.
The MTA announced that all subway, bus and commuter rail service would be suspended, beginning at 7 p.m. EDT on October 28 and expected to continue suspension through at least October 30. All PATH train service and stations were shut down at 12:01 a.m. October 29. 200 National Guard troops were deployed in the city. All bus carriers at the Port Authority Bus Terminal closed at 3 a.m. October 29. U.S. stock trading was suspended for October 29 and October 30. It was the first two-day weather closure since the Great Blizzard of 1888. All state courts were closed October 29, except for arraignments and emergency applications. NYU Langone Medical Center cancelled all surgeries and medical procedures, except for emergency procedures.
On October 27, Google postponed their planned Android event in New York City due to the storm. The Staten Island Ferry and East River Ferry services were suspended at least through October 29. Most bridges and tunnels closed. Major carriers cancelled all flights into and out of JFK, LaGuardia and Newark-Liberty airports until it was safe to fly. Broadway cancelled all October 28 evening and October 29 performances.Alternate-side parking and parking meter regulations were suspended on October 29.Grand Central Terminal, Central Park and Battery Park were closed on October 29. The Holland Tunnel and the Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel closed at 2 p.m. EDT on October 29. The Tappan Zee Bridge was closed later on that day.
One of the units at Indian Point nuclear power plant (Unit #3) was shut down around 10:45 p.m. October 29, because of external electrical grid issues according to plant operator Entergy.
Afterwards, Manhattan south of 23rd Street was without power for a week.
Last year, Hurricane Joaquin threatened the Atlantic coast during New York Comic Con, but the storm moved to the east, causing little damage in the United States, (aside from a storm system which fed on the Hurricane’s strength, and flooded North and South Carolina.)
What could/should attendees anticipate?
🌀 Flight delays in the southern United States, as severe weather could cause delays and cancellations. If the storm hits NYC on Sunday as expected, delays out of the JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark would be epic.
🌀 Subway closures. New York is still recovering from the damage from Sandy, with the L train to be shut down in January 2019 for 18 months to repair damage to the Canarsie tunnels. Once the subway system shuts down (along with city buses), the city shuts down, as people shelter from the storm. This is done partly to limit damage to the subway, but also to encourage people from going out into the storm and doing stupid things.
🌀 Loss of electricity from flooding, high winds, and storms.
🌀 Gasoline rationing. Gas stations can’t pump gas without electricity. Tanker trucks might not make deliveries. If Sandy is a guide, rationing will be implemented. Fill up your car before you enter NYC, to save money on gas, and to avoid long lines at gas stations.
🌀 If you are visiting, ask your hosts about storm preparation. You should offer to buy storm supplies (water, non-perishables, alcohol, USB batteries). If staying at a hotel, ask the hotel staff for advice. You can search NYC’s hurricane website to discover if your area is in a flood zone, and where nearby evacuation shelters are located. NYC also has a Severe Weather page which will activate in the case of an emergency. If you’re local, you should read up on the Office of Emergency Management’s resources and guides on how to prepare for most emergencies.
🌀 Cancellation of show events. If the subways shut down, which is decided by Governor Cuomo, then that means a major emergency is in effect, and everyone should stop what they’re doing and get to safety. This will usually be announced a day in advance, to allow people time to plan, which would mean Saturday given current forecasts. ReedPop has contingencies in place, and it’s hoped we never find out what they are. Reed has multiple means of getting the word out (social media, NYCC app, emails, public announcements), and word spreads fast at shows, so there will be little confusion. (And as soon as NYC closes the subway, your mother will probably send you a text.) If this occurs, I’d recommend leaving the city early, if you can travel westerly, or get home before the storm reaches you. Don’t drive through the storm.
🌀 If you’re feeling panicky, find a New York native to help you keep calm. We’ve been through all this before, and the City and State are always cautious with any weather emergency. There are lots of neighborhood bars which might be open, or just ask the stranger next to you… we’re pretty friendly and understanding of visitors.
But that’s only if there’s an emergency. Until we toss that d20 into the Hudson, proceed as you normally do.
Be safe, have fun, don’t be a jerk!
I’ve been writing for The Beat since July of 2010.
I’ve been reading comics since 1974, collecting since 1984, and spreading the graphic novel gospel since 1994.
I’m a bookseller, a librarian, an amateur scholar, a cool uncle, and a comics evangelist.
Ask me anything!