In preparation for Hurricane Irene’s arrival on Sunday, New York City took the unprecedented step of completely shutting down its world-famous public transit system, including the subways, the country’s largest.
On a statement on it’s the website, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) said: “Subway, bus and railroad services have now completed their final runs. Stations are closed. People should not attempt to travel on the MTA's public transportation network.”
MTA added that while its bridges and tunnels remain open, “restrictions or closures are likely. MTA bridges will close if winds reach sustained speeds of 60 mph, but this does not preclude them from closing sooner if high winds are coupled with other weather-related conditions including flooding.”
In addition, workers are moving trains and buses out of low-lying, flood-prone areas.
“Crews are securing facilities by deploying sand bags and other flood-mitigating buffers,” the Agency said “Workers from the [Long Island Railroad] and Metro-North are securing or removing gates at 370 railroad crossings throughout the region.”
New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg warned that subway service would likely not return to service on Monday.
New Yorkers who need to get somewhere are coping the best they can.
One person told NY1 cable news channel: We're gonna walk all the way home [to] 114th Street, and we're at South Ferry. So we have like three hours. We're headed to East 28th Street where we're gonna stay with my brother and gonna see from there.”
Another resident said: Hopefully it's not gonna be too bad and we can go back to work on Monday.”
City officials are particularly concerned about the potential for heavy flooding at high tide on Sunday morning.
“That is when you’ll see the water come over the side,” Bloomberg said at a press conference on Saturday afternoon.
Bloomberg also reported an injury arising from the storm -- a 66-year-old man died after he fell off a ladder while boarding up windows at his home in Jamaica, Queens. A Fire Department official said the man fell about 20 feet up and was in serious condition at Jamaica Hospital.