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Bronx bracing for Hurricane Sandy

Bronx Times

Frankenstorm is alive and it could repeat history.

Exactly one year after a shocking nor’easter came crashing down on the Bronx, another storm is lumbering toward the borough, bringing with it a heavy mix of wind, rain - and possibly snow.

Hurricane Sandy, also known as what meteorologists have dubbed Frankenstorm, is twisting along the Atlantic Ocean, set to hit the city on Monday, according to the National Weather Service.

The storm has already left 29 people dead in the Bahamas.

Forecasters believe Sandy will deviate from the Atlantic, turning left towards the tri-state with tropical-force winds.

The storm also comes as predictions for a snow storm coming from the north will converge with Sandy, creating a super-storm.

“It’s just a matter of time as to where it’s going to hit,” warns NWS meteorologist Joey Picca.

Though the forecast models are changing by the hour, Picca thinks Bronxites can expect 30 to 45 miles per hour winds at the very least.

But the worst case scenario would be paralyzing for the borough, with heavy winds, rain and coastal flooding.

“Everybody should be prepared especially near the water,” said Picca.

Areas in the Bronx prone to flooding include much of Edgewater Park, the Fort Schuyler area, City Island, Clason Point, and parts of the south Bronx.

Last year’s nor’easter took the Bronx by surprise on October 29, blanketing the borough with record snow during the month.

Trees toppled along Pelham Parkway, nearly 10,000 residents lost power, while disappointed kids were forced to hang up their Halloween costumes.

Many Bronxites in the potential target area of this storm were playing it safe on Friday, stocking up on perishables such as milk, as well as extra batteries and other items.

Friday afternoon saw an unusual rush of locals at the Fine Fare supermarket on East Tremont Avenue in Throggs Neck, with folks stuffing their carts with canned goods and TV dinners.

An assistant manager had to open extra cash registers to meet the demand.

Fran Annunziata threw two gallons of milk into her cart - one for herself and the other for her elderly neighbor. She also wasn’t leaving the store without some tuna fish and peanut butter “in case things go bad.”

She said she also made a trip to the hardware store - “I purchased a generator last night.”

Over on City Island, preparations were taking place at less frenetic place at Buddy’s Hardware & Marine, at 260 City Island Avenue, said owner Karl Hoedl.

“You want to call it the calm before the storm,” said Hoedl. “Believe it or not maybe four people came in to stock up on supplies. But by tomorow it is probably going to be a whole different thing.”

Keith Freder, president of the Edgewater Park Owners Cooperative, said on Friday the Edgewater Park Volunteer Fire Department is preparing for the storm to land on Sunday, with water cresting over the development’s seawall as the storm arrives there around 10 p.m. High-tide is at midnight on Monday, he said.

“I have been in constant contact with the volunteer fire department today, and they sent out a mass phone call to all the shareholders informing them that if there is an evacuation call from the mayor, that the firehouse will indeed be open and prepared to shelter,” Freder said Friday afternoon.

A strategy meeting is planned for Sunday, and the fire department has a list of special needs and elderly that they will visit, and is also making sure it has all supplies needed, said Freder.

The city Office of Emergency Management has not elevated its preparation efforts as of press time, but they were encouraging people to keep their emergency plans on standby.

While the Metropolitan Transit Authority canceled weekend train work systemwide, it will not limit train service.

The city Department of Buildings has suspended construction work starting Saturday, October 27, advising crews to tie heavy equipment down.

Congressman Joseph Crowley e-mailed many in his district a “Hurricane Safety Checklist” from The Red Cross.

Some of the things you can do to prepare, according to the list, is check and restock disaster supplies, bring anything inside of your house that can be picked up by the wind (like lawn furniture), turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest temperature so that if power does go out the food will last longer, turn propane tanks off and unplug small appliances, fill your car’s gas tank, and talk with those living with you and create an evacuation plan.

You can also visit the National Weather Service website at weather.gov for maps and information about the storm. You can search by zip code for specific weather information.

David Cruz can be reached via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383; Patrick Rocchio can be reached via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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