Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino ordered Sunday the suspension of the Bee-Line bus and ParaTransit services, and the closure of the Bronx River Parkway due to the impending arrival of Hurricane Sandy.
The Bee-Line and ParaTransit services will be suspended beginning at 9 p.m. Sunday and will be suspended indefinitely.
The Bronx River Parkway will be closed from end to end beginning at 6 a.m. Monday. All other highways in Westchester County will remain open but state and county officials may close them if the conditions call for it. The Tappan Zee Bridge is open but the state could close it if necessary.
“One thing that we have found is, during Hurricane Irene, closing these highways before the storm happened was much better for the public,” Astorino said. “It turned out one of the best decisions we made to protect the public and so we may again start closing the highways as the morning progresses or even before then.”
Astorino urged all county residents to stay indoors as much as possible until at least Tuesday, to help their neighbors and to have batteries, fresh water and flashlights on hand.
The full impact of the storm is expected to arrive on Monday morning and should last until at least Tuesday, but it could stall over the area, which would prolong its presence in Westchester.
Astorino addressed a small group of reporters at the Hudson Valley Transportation Management Center in Hawthorne. He recited a list of actions taken by the county and issued warnings to county residents, including:
– County residents should call Con Edison or NYSEG to report power outages and should not expect someone else to call in the report.
– In the event of power outages, residents could be without power for days or even up to a week.
– Residents should stay out of bodies of water, including the Hudson River.
– If residents have not purchased supplies such as food, water and batteries, they should do so immediately before the full impact of the storm arrives Monday morning.
– Communities in the Sound Shore area should be wary of the storm surge, which could cause tides anywhere from six to 11 feet higher than normal. Some communities in those flood prone areas, such as Mamaroneck and Rye, have already suggested that residents evacuate.
– The county has not mandated any evacuations yet, but that remains a possibility. Astorino said “it would probably be prudent” for those in flood prone areas to leave if possible.
– Extra police will be on patrol and more could be called as needed.
– All Westchester County Parks, including the Westchester County Center and the Ice Casino at Rye Playland, will be closed beginning Sunday night and will remain closed until at least Tuesday.
– The Westchester County Airport is technically open, but many flights on Monday and Tuesday have been canceled. Travelers should check with their local airlines for cancellations.
– County office buildings will be open on Monday but will likely be lightly staffed.
– The county government has provided 2,000 sandbags to municipalities along the Sound Shore, 1,000 to Cortlandt and 3,000 to Yonkers to use as they deem necessary. The county also provided variable message signs to Lewisboro and a generator to Mt. Kisco.
– Thirty-one at-risk patients at the Dumont Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing Care in New Rochelle were evacuated because they were in a flood plain.
– Residents should dial 911 in case of emergency and 211 for non-emergency situations and to receive updates on the hurricane.
WestchesterGov.com will also have updates.