Brooklyn Boro

Dangerous Nor’easter brings power outages, flooding, blowing debris to Brooklyn

January 23, 2017 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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One of the windiest intersections in New York City — the intersection of Court and Montague streets in Brooklyn Heights — resembled a minor battlefield Monday afternoon as wind gusts as high as 55 mph from a winter Nor’easter turned debris into shrapnel and caused pedestrians to cluster indoors to ride it out.

Gina Osnovich, who works in the area, was inside TD Bank when she paused briefly to glance at a couple behind her who said they were afraid to step outside. That pause may have saved her life, she told the Brooklyn Eagle, as at that moment, the front of the bank’s sign came crashing down onto the pavement where she was about to step.

“Thank goodness I’m nosy and I turned around to see who was talking, or it would have landed right on me,” she said.

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Across the street at Gregory’s Coffee, in the lobby of 16 Court St., the interior lobby door blew completely off its hinges when a customer opened the Montague Street door on the opposite side of the shop.

A security guard manning the Montague Street entrance, roughly a dozen feet from the demolished door, said the flying door sprayed shattered glass across the floor.

“Luckily, no one was hurt,” he said, as maintenance staff swept up glass and blocked the store’s entrance with yellow caution tape.

Raanan Geberer, an Eagle editor, said that walking near the federal courthouse in Downtown Brooklyn at roughly 3:30 p.m. was “treacherous.”

The wind was “very sporadic. It would be quiet for a while, and then all of a sudden a gust of wind would almost blow you over. I had to hold onto a light pole,” he said.

Geberer add that he had to squat to lower his center of gravity while waiting to cross the street.

By mid-afternoon, Con Edison was handling roughly 1,000 power outages across Brooklyn, many on the central and eastern side of the borough, according to the company’s website. An outage affecting more than 700 customers was cleared up before 4 p.m., but more sites experienced outages and partial outages caused by the wind as the afternoon wore on.

Manhattan also experienced high winds on Monday afternoon. The NYC State of Mind Twitter account tweeted at roughly 3:30 p.m., “Discarded Christmas trees rolling through Manhattan streets like urban tumble weed in these winds.”

The rain and wind are expected to increase during late rush hour and continue through Tuesday morning. Personnel from NYPD’s Special Ops tweeted that they were “ready to be deployed if needed, as dangerous Nor’easter approaches NYC bringing rough seas & high winds.”

By mid-afternoon Monday, Con Edison was handling roughly 1,000 power outages across Brooklyn. Map courtesy of Consolidated Edison

Mayor Bill de Blasio warned residents that rain and wind “will come fast tonight. Take a few minutes to secure your home, and check on your neighbors.”

In a morning interview on WCBS 880, de Blasio said, “We’re particularly concerned about coastal flooding in low-lying areas. So, what we’re doing right now is getting the word out to people all over the city, getting city agencies in position to address flooding and things like fallen trees, power lines, et cetera,” the mayor said.

He added that the Department of Buildings had sent an order out to get cranes and construction sites secured, and that city agencies were out clearing catch basins “so they can handle all the water going through.”

Some civic organizations canceled events planned for Monday, including Community Board 2, which postponed its monthly Executive Committee meeting until Wednesday.

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