I’ve received some frantic IMs and tweets from friends over the last few days about what we’re going to do about the hurricane. Allow me to document our decision making process:
At 1PM today, the Jersey City Police Department issued a mandatory evacuation for ground/first floor units in our neighborhood. We live on the 10th floor of our building – the first eight floors are a block-wide parking garage and common space for the building, then two separate towers start the actual units at floor 9.
At 3PM today, our building forwarded that order on trying to turn it into a mandatory evacuation for the entire building. They requested everyone vacate by 4PM.
Unlike the mandatory evac orders for Zone A in Manhattan (issued yesterday) or first-level apartments in Hoboken (issued this morning), this came after the MTA had shut down the subway, after the PATH had shut down, and after NJ Transit had shut down.
There are emergency shelters, of course, but they are neither near us nor are the buses they are running for them anywhere near us (4 stops on the light rail). Additionally the shelters are not taking pets, and Buttons’ safety and health remains one of our top concerns. (One was just announced as taking pets, opening at 5PM today – a bit late.)
Additionally, like many NYC-area residents, we don’t own a car. So driving west to some unknown destination (we don’t have any friends or family in NW New Jersey) isn’t an option.
The fear from the building (and generally from the area) is more about the flooding and potential power outages than wind damage to the building. Our windows are thick and, per the building, able to withstand high winds. (Jersey City is remarkably windy on average.) We have supplies – water, canned food, charged devices – that we prepared yesterday.
So I would emotionally prefer to have somewhere safe we could go and relax for the weekend – my stress level has been a bit high, having recently completed a week long conference that involved an earthquake. But the logical, rational side of me knows that trying to flee at this point is a losing proposition compared to sheltering-at-home.
So at home we shall stay, for better or for worse. It is not a great decision, it may not even end up being a good decision, but it is the best decision we can make given the options. And to be honest, if the primary disruption that comes from this is a blackout, I think I have ample experience.