Prepping for Earl
As Earl bears down on the metropolitan area with the potential to bring heavy rain and high winds, the MTA is preparing for any service-related issues that may arise from the storm. Providing safe, reliable service during inclement weather is priority one. The MTA is closely monitoring the storm and will work even harder to ensure riders get to where they need to go.
NYC Transit, MTA Bus, Long Island Bus
Service on subways and buses is expected to remain normal but delays, disruptions and the rerouting of buses are possible if there is flooding underground and on city streets. Customers are urged to use caution, especially on stairs, outdoor platforms and at bus shelters.
The potential for service disruptions caused by flooding during periods of sustained heavy rains does exist so New York City Transit maintains three pump trains capable of pumping 300 gallons of water from the system every minute. The Track and Infrastructure Division also has a fleet of portable pumps, some with a pumping capacity of 600 gallons per minute. Crews will also be dispatched to cover sidewalk vent gratings in areas that are prone to flooding.
Inspections of the system's drains and culverts have already begun to make certain that they are clear and free of debris. Transit workers will also survey outdoor train lines and construction areas to identify and secure any loose materials.
Long Island Rail Road &Metro-North Railroad
The Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad are working closely with emergency officials in New York City, and the outlying counties north and east on hurricane contingency plans. When a storm is on track to slam into the region, the railroads mobilize their maintenance of way employees, gathering teams to respond to fallen trees, downed power lines, clogged culverts, mudslides, and washouts. In preparation for the storm, both railroads are ensuring that all equipment necessary to deal with the effects of the storm are ready to go – chain saws for clearing downed trees, pumps for flooded areas, and identifying locations and availability of replacement supplies for replacing damaged utility poles and crossing gates. Vehicle fuel tanks have been topped-off and generators are being tested and fueled.
In order to protect customers, employees and Railroad assets, it may be necessary to suspend railroad service and "hunker down" for the brunt of the storm. This so-called "zero hour" would come when category 3 storm winds reach a sustained speed of 39 mph.
Depending upon a hurricane's size and forward speed and predicted path, "zero hour" could come up to 24 hours before the actual worst part of the storm hits our area. That's why it is important for customers to heed official storm warnings, especially those concerning evacuations. Some flood and storm surge prone areas have official evacuation plans that begin as much as 72 hours before the actual landfall of a hurricane, when the weather may still be quite calm. Customers should pay close attention to official evacuation notices and be aware that the railroads may not be available for last-minute evacuations.
MTA Bridges &Tunnels
MTA Bridges and Tunnels is part of the city's Office of Emergency Management preparedness team and is involved in daily preparations and updates as the storm gets closer. B&T staff are readying equipment and working with contractors at our seven bridges and two tunnels making sure that all work sites and equipment are secure in case of high winds.
Bridges and Tunnels personnel are also checking all storm drains at our facilities to ensure that they are free of debris. Wind restrictions will be in place at various B&T facilities if winds gusts rise to between 30 (wet conditions) and 39 mph (dry conditions), and motorists will be asked to reduce speeds. If winds reach 49 mph certain vehicles, including box trucks, step vans, and motorcycles would be banned.
We urge all customers to give themselves extra travel time whenever there is inclement weather. Continue to visit our website and monitor news media and traffic and transit reports for updated information on storm-related service. If you're still not a subscriber, sign up for email alerts to begin receiving real-time status updates about your subway, bus, rail and/or bridge and tunnel route today.