New York will suspend its bridge tolls, subway fares and bus tickets so as to stimulate the evacuation of people living in low-lying areas that could be damaged by Hurricane Irene.

Irene is now a Category 1 hurricane and at least 250,000 people in New York are reportedly being asked to evacuate to include residents in the Battery Park area of Manhattan, parts of Staten Island, along with those near Brooklyn beaches and those living in the beachfront communities of Rockaway.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo told the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to suspend tolls at the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge, the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge, and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, a statement on his Web site noted.

Fares for buses in the city and for subway and rail passengers at stations in the mandatory areas for evacuation have also been suspended.

The only approach to a storm of this magnitude is to act preemptively. Waiving fares may be the factor that convinces some people to leave promptly when they might otherwise be tempted to stay and confront this hurricane, Cuomo said in a statement.

Federal officials have warned that Irene could cause flooding, power outages, and storm surges all along the East Coast as far north as Maine - even if it stays offshore.

If you can leave today, that would be helpful, said Mayor Bloomberg.

He has also made it clear that residents in Zone A need to be out by Saturday at 5 p.m.

However, Zone A residents may need to get moving by Saturday morning because the coming winds may make traveling difficult by the afternoon and New York's entire mass transit system will shut down by noon.

Airports like John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia have announced that they are closing at noon on Saturday.

At the moment the strongest winds are expected to arrive in the early evening tomorrow, Bloomberg said. It is expected to be a category 1 storm. The full brunt of the storm - if you are in its way - is a lot more powerful than any of us.

Hurricane Irene is expected to impact New York on Saturday, with the worst conditions...likely late Saturday night into Sunday afternoon, according to the National Hurricane Center.

- You can find New York's official hurricane guide with resources and tips here.

- The evacuation zone finder, which tells residents by address whether or not they need to evacuate, is here (however, this Web page is often slow or down due to high traffic).

- For general info on Hurricane Irene's impact on New York, visit here or call 311.

- The map for evacuation zones and a list of public shelters is here.

- Zone A is colored orange.  Zone B and Zone C, the two next most dangerous zones, are colored yellow and green, respectively.

Read the fare, toll suspension notice below:

Governor Cuomo Announces Suspension of Certain MTA Fares and Tolls to Facilitate Evacuation

MTA working to ease evacuation for residents in Zone A and the Far Rockaways

Albany, NY (August 26, 2011)

Executive Order #18: Temporary Suspension of Provisions Relating to Transportation for the State Disaster Emergency

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that in order to facilitate the mandatory evacuation of residents living in low-lying Zone A areas and the Far Rockaways, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will suspend certain fares and tolls.

The only approach to a storm of this magnitude is to act preemptively. Waiving fares may be the factor that convinces some people to leave promptly when they might otherwise be tempted to stay and confront this hurricane, Governor Cuomo said.

The fare and toll suspension is effective in the following areas:

- Tolls are already suspended at the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge and the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge.

- Starting at 8:00 PM today, the following changes will go into effect:

- Tolls will be suspended on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

- Fares will be suspended on buses throughout the city.

- Fares will be suspended for subway and rail passengers at stations in the mandatory evacuation area.