Hurricane Sandy’s effect on New York City became a lot scarier when the MTA announced via twitter Monday night that seawater had entered the city’s subway system.
CBS News reported late Monday night that the tunnels could take as long as four days to be pumped clear of water.
“We’re seeing flooding pretty much throughout the entire area with most of the flooding we’re seeing in Lower Manhattan,” MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz told CBS 2.
Ortiz also told news outlets that almost all subway stations south of Chambers street had been flooded. It was also reported that water had reached the standing platform at Rockaway Park A station in Queens.
The MTA also took to twitter to deny rumors that the subway system would be shutdown for a week.
“Rumors are wrong. There is no timetable for subway reopening. Rumors of one week are just that: rumors,” the organization tweeted.
“It is really difficult to predict the amount of time to pump the water out from flooded tunnels and adjoining stations,” Ortiz said.
Especially at risk are the A, F, 2, 3, 4, 5, N and R trains, officials warned that the tracks may not be accessible until Friday at the earliest. Another major issue for the MTA could be the salt water’s ability to corrode tunnel traffic lights and switches indicating the path a driver would use as navigation.
“The switches are really important for controlling the flow of the subway system. They could corrode quite easily. We also, our signaling system – it’s an electronic signaling system, and again, the corrosion that could come from there is significant,” MTA Chairman Joe Lhota told CBS. “So just the general ability to run the system and to keep it safe is in jeopardy.”
Cuomo’s decision Monday afternoon to close the Hugh Carey tunnel paid off with the announcement that that tunnel had also flooded.
New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday that all of the city’s public transportation would be suspended indefinitely but it’s clear that officials did not expect the subway system to be flooded with as much as four feet of water when Sandy made landfall.