Port Authority prepares for Hurricane Sandy - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Port Authority prepares for Hurricane Sandy

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The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says it's making preparations in advance of the anticipated hurricane that's due to make landfall that will bring winds, heavy rain, record high tides and coastal flooding to the region. 

The agency will have a full staff at all of its transportation facilities to ensure that the hundreds of thousands of customers who use them can be safely accommodated during this severe weather event.

The PA will activate its emergency management office to monitor the changing weather conditions.  

To prepare for major weather events, the Port Authority conducted a major coastal storm tabletop exercise in May and a Hurricane Preparedness Webinar in July in conjunction with the National Weather Service. In addition, the Port Authority has conducted four full-scale drills in the past two months at John F. Kennedy International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, the Bayonne Bridge and AirTrain Newark to prepare for emergencies. The agency also has held several first responder orientations at its facilities in the past 12 months. 

The Port Authority advises airline passengers to check with their carriers on the status of their flight as the storm approaches. Airlines have canceled flights in advance of forecast storms in the past so you should check with your carrier. The PA urges customers not to go to the airports unless they are certain that their flight will be departing.

The agency says officials have started precautions by securing any outdoor loose materials and notifying tenants and lessees to do the same; checking and clearing all storm drains and roadway gutters; servicing and fueling all vehicles, generators and pumps; preparing and placing sand bags and preparing traffic control equipment such as cones and barrels.  

Customer Care Representatives will be able to provide assistance with basic items (water, diapers and baby formula) for any passengers who may be stranded at the airport and at least one food vendor in every passenger terminal must remain open 24 hours so that food is available any time of the day or night.  

The Port Authority's workers are reviewing high wind procedures and readying for potential traffic restrictions or closings. All sumps and drains are being checked and sump pits are being pumped down in anticipation of the forecasted heavy rainfall. And plans are being made to bring in a full complement of police, operations and maintenance staff this weekend in advance of the storm. PA Bus Terminal staff is coordinating with all of the terminal's bus carriers to determine their service plans in the coming days. 

PATH train crews are preparing to deal with potential flooding with sandbags and the use of pumps throughout the system, including the deployment of trailer-mounted portable diesel pump that can be used inside PATH tunnels if necessary.  

The Port Commerce Department has advised its maritime terminal tenants to take necessary precautions, which include placing sandbags at the base of cargo doors to minimize water intrusion, securing and covering cargo stored outdoors if it cannot be transferred to sheltered areas, and securing cranes, barges, warehouse doors and yard equipment. Contractors also are being asked to secure any equipment on job sites.  

The World Trade Center staff notified contractors to secure construction sites and take precautionary measures including tying down and securing material and loose debris at construction sites; storing loose tools; and securing netting, banners, scaffolding and sidewalk sheds. Engineers also are implementing plans to secure cranes against the storm's winds, while crews are preparing to use pumps, sandbags and other measures to stem flooding.

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