Members of the National Guard carried fuel in 5-gallon buckets up 13 flights of stairs to keep the generators operating.
Aviles said officials believed the hospital to be safe from flooding based on projections for how high above normal tides water was expected to rise. Initial projections said the water would surge 11 feet higher than normal. The surge instead reached 13 feet. He said the hospital is located 20 feet above sea level and called the flooding “amazing.”
He said Bellevue's 1-million-square-foot basement contained 2.5 feet of water. An estimated 17 million gallons of water flooded the basement.
The hospital is the fifth in New York City to evacuate as a result of the storm. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he learned Wednesday of the evacuation.
“We learned this morning that Bellevue will have to be evacuated because of damage it has sustained,” Bloomberg said of the hospital owned by the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp.
Without power from the electric grid, Bellevue had been running on emergency power generators. However, hospital officials inspected equipment in the hospital's basement and “they realized there was damage they didn't know about,” the mayor said.
Two other hospitals were evacuated of the storm: 128-bed New York Downtown Hospital, the Veteran's Affairs Department's New York Harbor Healthcare System Manhattan Campus.
Bloomberg said the evacuations did not result in any patient deaths.
The city also evacuated 13 of its 17 chronic-care facilities in the flood-prone area known as Zone A, and four other facilities are still being emptied of people, he said. “We want to make sure that people are moved safely, and we have to use extra care to do that,” he said.
All of the evacuations were having an effect on the hospitals that remained open.
The 1,029-bed Mount Sinai Medical Center reported that it could accommodate 30 medical-surgical patients, two pediatric patients and 15 more psychiatry patients, on top of the 10 psychiatric patients it accepted from Bellevue on Tuesday. Mount Sinai also already has accepted 64 patients from NYU Langone, an e-mailed statement from the hospital said.
If Mount Sinai accepts all additional patients, the hospital will be running over capacity, the statement said.