Monday, 29 October 2012

New York City – a suddenly quiet city awaiting the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy’s fury today

Ralph Petti MBCI, CPCP
New York, NY – Monday, October 29, 2012  10:00am ET
For a Monday morning, this is the most unlikely “quietest place in the world”.  New York City, for all its hubbub and bustling, has been silenced by an impending act of nature that threatens to affect the entire East Coast of the USA and over 100 million residents. 
Just imagine London without traffic or Hong Kong without commerce; for New York City, they are evacuating almost half a million people in harm’s way and there is an eerie silence impugning the reputation of ‘the city that never sleeps’.
As I sit in my apartment on the seventh floor on the Upper East Side, I am comforted with my own preparation of water, candles, non-perishables and the like.  What about others?  Will they listen to the threat of a storm called the “FrankenStorm” due to its close proximity to Halloween?
For most of the eastern United States, there has been a “State of Emergency” that has been declared.  The governors are coordinating the state and local resources in a display that has brought the public- and private-sectors together more than ever. Schools from Boston to Washington, DC are closed (an area some 500 miles apart) and two feet of snow is threatened to fall as far west as the Ohio Valley (500 miles west).  Can this area of some 25,000 square miles of mixed urban and rural centers survive?
In New York City, there is no Mass Transit running which is too reminiscent of my experiences on September 11, 2001.  People are walking with cases of water, looking for flashlights, batteries, candles, anything.  The shelves are bare and there are no supplies on the way.  News programs are running 24 hours updates and a hundred emergency shelters are now open. Everyone in the low-lying areas of ‘Zone A’ has been evacuated.  We are on our own and there is a feeling of vulnerability amongst us.
Save for the battery-operated transistor radio (only in NYC, would it cost $15 for the radio and $18 for the batteries!), we will make do with what we have.  We will hope for the best and hope that our family and friends are able to do the same. For our clients, we hope that they have learned their business continuity exercise lessons well.  I will be reporting next at 2:00pm ET today.  
Ralph Petti, MBCI, CBCP is the President of Continuity Dynamics, Inc., an international firm focused on the areas of risk management, business continuity and disaster recovery planning. As a Member of The Business Continuity Institute, he is now sequestered in an apartment Manhattan’s Upper East Side with water and a myriad of supplies and is waiting for the storm to strike the NYC area tonight.  Mr. Petti has already been a guest subject matter expert on The Fox Business News Channel and is now sending frequent updates to The BCI. Reach him at or at 908.310.6381.

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