New York City schools have been ordered closed for Tuesday as the city braces for what is expected to be the full impact of Hurricane Sandy Monday night and early Tuesday.
While the brunt of the storm was expected to hit in New Jersey, Queens remained under a high wind watch from the National Weather Service as of 5 p.m., with steady winds between 35 and 40 miles per hour and wind gusts of up to 85 miles per hour possible.
"Do not go outside when high winds are occurring, or during a temporary lull, as large debris can easily ... and suddenly ... cause serious injury," stated the NWS in its high wind warning.
Southern Queens remained under a flood warning as of 5 p.m.
Mayor Bloomberg made an appeal Monday morning to all those in mandatory evacuation zones who chose to remain in their homes.
“As the winds start building this afternoon, it gets more and more dangerous to go outside. And so you’re sort of caught between a rock and a hard place," Bloomberg said in a speech posted on the city's website.
"You should have left, but it’s also getting to be too late to leave," the mayor said. "If you really experience an emergency, 911. We will send our first responders in, although we’d love very much not to have to put their lives at risk, and you can control that by getting out now."
He said about 3,000 city residents had availed themselves of public shelters as of Monday morning.
Con Edison's website reported about 3,600 customers without poweras of 10 a.m. on Monday, most of them in Brooklyn. Con Ed officials did not respond to a request from the Chronicle for updated numbers in Queens on Monday afternoon.
According to the ConEd website, customers can report downed power lines, outages, and check service restoration status by computer or mobile device at www.conEd.com.
They also can call 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633). When reporting an outage, it is helpful if customers have their Con Edison account number available, if possible, and report whether their neighbors also have lost power. Customers who report outages will be called by Con Edison with their estimated restoration times as they become available.
New York City mass transit remains suspended until further notice, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
"Service will be restored only when it is safe to do so, and after careful inspections of all equipment, tracks and other sub-systems," said the MTA in a press release. "Even with minimal damage this is expected to be a lengthy process."
LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International airports remain open, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, but all airlines have suspended flight operations into and out of the city.
The PA is urging passengers to stay off the roads and to check with their airlines regarding restoration of service.