You Should Definitely Have Backup Weekend Plans

Photo: DON EMMERT/2009 AFP

Here are some things you might have planned on doing this weekend: Going to the beach. Picnicking in the park. Having a barbecue. Going to a beer garden. Attending an outdoor concert. Taking a bike ride. Trying a new restaurant. Leaving your apartment.

It's possible that none of those things will actually end up happening.

Hurricane Irene is barreling toward North Carolina as we speak, and some projections have it plowing right into New York by the weekend. If that scenario plays out, it could make the inconsequential earthquake we experienced yesterday seem ... even more inconsequential. The Post reports:

Emergency management officials are gathering to prepare for the possibility that New York city residents would have to be evacuated if Hurricane Irene strikes the city.

The city's Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph F. Bruno said today they've been consulting with the National Weather Service. He says officials are predicting a strong tropical storm with 40 to 60 mph winds that could hit New York City around midday Saturday. In a worst case scenario, the city could face a Category 1 storm with more than 72 mph winds and a dangerous storm surge affecting low lying areas.

New York City usually just gets the remnants of storms that were once hurricanes, not hurricanes themselves. When hurricanes have landed a direct hit, the precedent is pretty awful:

According to New York City's Office of Emergency Management, the last hurricane to pass directly over the city was in 1821 — and it caused tides to rise 13 feet in one hour, flooding all of lower Manhattan to Canal St.

Belch vocalization!

NYC, Long Island vulnerability exposed by Irene [Reuters]
City officials begin preparing for Hurricane Irene, possibility of NYC evacuations [NYP]