Consolidated Edison Inc, the electric supplier for most of New York City, has proactively made the decision to cut the power to part of lower Manhattan. A portion of the area where power was cut had already been evacuated but approximately 6500 customers are without power from the move.
Seawater has rushed into the city, threatening to flood the underground electrical equipment. The decision was made to protect electrical equipment and to allow for quicker restoration after Hurricane Sandy passes. Precedence for restoration will be given to critical infrastructure customers, such as the subway system, sewage and water pumping stations, police stations, fire departments and hospitals.
Con-Ed estimates that there were already approximately 156,000 New Yorkers without power before the shut down.
Among the equipment that could be harmed is the city’s subway system, consisting of miles of underground, electric-powered train tracks.
The NYC Metro Transit Authority has announced that “lines are closed indefinitely.”
Many New Yorkers do not have cars, so with public transit effectively shut down, the opportunity to evacuate no longer exists. Even for those with vehicles, getting out of Manhattan is nearly impossible. The Holland Tunnel, which connects New York to New Jersey has been closed, as well as the tunnel between Brooklyn and Manhattan. The Brooklyn Bridge, the George Washington, the Verrazano-Narrows and several other bridges were closed as of 7 pm EDT due to high winds.
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