‘‘I do not think that there’s enough emergency measures that will help prevent the subway from flooding,’’ Jacob said.
Bloomberg announced evacuations at about 11:30 a.m., telling people to be out just 7½ hours later. The city was alerting residents with cellphone emergency warning systems, its own Notify NYC system of emails and phone calls, and police cars going down streets with bullhorns.
To those who refused to leave, Bloomberg had a message.
‘‘They won’t be arrested. But I would argue they are being very selfish,’’ said the mayor, noting rescue crews will still try to help them if they are flooded. ‘‘We aren’t going to leave them to die. We are going to save them.’’
Associated Press writers Verena Dobnik and Deepti Hajela in New York and Seth Borenstein in Kensington, Md., contributed to this report.