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Sandy update: Cuomo orders NYC tunnels closed, fears storm surge

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. (March 27, 2012)

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. (March 27, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered two tunnels to New York City closed at about 10:30 a.m. for fear of flooding from the affects of Hurricane Sandy.

Cuomo, state and federal officials said their biggest concern were new predictions for potential historic storm surges of the Atlantic Ocean and Hudson River, flooding Long Island beaches and low-lying coastal areas.

Updated projections estimate a possible 11.7 foot water surge Monday evening near New York City at 8 or 9 p.m., compared with a peak surge for Tropical Storm Irene of 9.5 feet.

The Northeast River Forecast Center updated predictions Monday morning for the Hudson River to rise to 8.4 feet at Poughkeepsie, almost a half foot higher than levels during Irene.

"These forecasts for the surge are really extraordinary," Cuomo said.

Flooding concerns prompted Cuomo to order the Holland Tunnel and Brooklyn Battery Tunnel (Hugh L. Carey Tunnel) closed as of 2 p.m. Bridges over the Hudson River will remain open unless winds reach 60 mph. Cuomo also called up an additional 1,000 National Guard service members to aide in emergency response and clean up.

In our area, water from the Hudson River has already started swamping Piermont and communities on the Sound Shore -- Mamaroneck and Port Chester -- are experiencing some flooding along the waterfront.

Cuomo also visited the World Trade Center site Monday morning and expressed concern over flooding because of the ongoing construction there.

"God bless them. That is the site of resilience and the site of can-do," Cuomo said, noting that workers have piled thousands of sandbags and have water pumps at the ready. "I believe they're prepared for it."

Cuomo urged New Yorkers to also stay safe and stay off the roads.

"You do not need to be going to the beach to take pictures," Cuomo said. "Don't be fooled. Don't look out the window and say 'well it doesn't' look so bad.' Keep yourself safe and use common sense."

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