Category 2 Hurricane Irene is taking direct aim at New York City, prompting mandatory evacuations and halting ground and air transportation in several major cities.  Mayor Bloomberg announced mandatory evacuation of Zone A residents. 

The affected areas include Brooklyn's Coney Island and Manhattan Beach, Far Rockaway and Broad Channel in Queens, South Beach, Midland Beach, and Battery Park City in Manhattan.  Low-lying parts of Staten Island have also received orders to evacuate.

The MTA warned bridges that bridges could close due to high winds.   

According to an aviation expert, airports will be closed tomorrow afternoon and all day Sunday.  Whenever New York City subways are shut down, airports definitely shut down, the source said, adding that LaGuardia airport could close for three to four days.

American Airlines has already suspended 150 flights in the Washington, D.C. area.  More cancellations will be announced Friday night into Saturday morning.

U.S. Airways reduced its flight schedule beginning Saturday night, a spokeswoman said.

Approximately 1,300 of 16,500 flights scheduled for Saturday through Monday will be cancelled, Delta said in a statement.

John F. Kennedy and Logan International airports will likely shut down.  Customers will automatically be rebooked on flights.

New York City will evacuate hospitals and nursing home in low-lying areas Friday morning. 

A hurricane watch has been declared for New York City, Long Island, and Connecticut.  States of emergency have been issued for Delaware, North Carolina, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. 

Governor Cuomo announced Friday that mass transit officials will shut down the entire New York City subway system beginning Saturday at 12:00 p.m.

The hurricane threatens up to 65 million people along a path from North Carolina to New England.

NYC and Long Island homeowners were told to cover windows with plywood.  We've never done a mandatory evacuation before. But this is a serious storm. We need to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.  This is very serious. Do not be fooled by the sun outside, Bloomberg urged New Yorkers.

Hurricane Irene will likely hit New York sometime Sunday.  90 mph winds are expected, which could potentially wreak havoc on an already-sensitive, extremely compact city.