Map: As Hurricane Irene approaches, a look at NYC evacuation zones

Only five hurricanes have come near New York City since 1851. As the city (and the east coast) braces for powerful, Hurricane Irene, we take a look at New York City's interactive map of evacuation zones.

Hurricane Irene is coming. As it leaves the Bahamas Thursday, the powerful, Category 3 storm approaches the United States with its eye on North Carolina first. But it's expected to make it's way up to Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York.

Here's a map of NYC evacuation zones, broken down into three zones:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is waiting until Friday afternoon to decide if low-lying areas in downtown Manhattan and other boroughs should be evacuated.

NYC Office of Energy Management breaks down the zones based on the threat levels of coastal flooding from a storm surge : Zone A (areas that could be affected if any hurricane hits), Zone B (areas that might be affected if a Category 2 or higher hit), and Zone C (areas affected if a Category 3&4 hit).

A hurricane hitting New York is a really rare event. There have only been five hurricanes since 1851 that have come within 75 miles of New York City with the most recent being in 1985, according to the National Weather Service. Evacuating America's most populous city might be challenging and the mayor has said he will only issue an evacuation in the "worst circumstances."

The other states have evacuation maps too (although not nearly as interactive:

If you're on the East Coast, make sure you have a supply kit and a family emergency plan. The Associated Press has a good list of things to keep in mind when getting ready for the storm.

Chart via

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