By HILARY LEWIS, DAVID SEIFMAN, DAVID K. LI and AP
- Last Updated: 11:51 AM, October 28, 2012
- Posted: 9:19 AM, October 28, 2012
ReutersThe MTA will suspend subway, bus and commuter rail service tonight and schools will be closed tomorrow in advance of Hurricane Sandy hitting New York, Gov. Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg announced.
The mayor also ordered coastal areas of New York, known as "Zone A," evacuated.
The at-risk areas include the Rockaways, parts of Staten Island, City Island, the South Bronx, Battery Park City and the Lower East Side.
The last subway train will leave at 7 p.m. and the last bus will depart at 9 p.m., according to Cuomo.
The LIRR and Metro-North trains will also stop running after 7 p.m.
Meanwhile, Mayor Bloomberg is still considering whether to evacuate parts of New York City, but if he decides to do so, the MTA will be able to assist in that effort, Cuomo said.
The subway shutdown was necessary since it's unsafe to operate the trains in high winds and Gov. Cuomo said he doesn't want to encourage people to be up and about during the storm.
Bridge and tunnel closures will occur on a case-by-case basis, the governor said. At this time, Cuomo does not plan to close area airports. But, he is activating the National Guard.
He also urged staffing at nursing homes to be at 150% capacity and said staffers should be prepared to stay 48 to 72 hours.
Cuomo said this was not the time to panic, but it was necessary to take action.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Sandy was headed north from the Caribbean, where it left nearly five dozen dead, to meet a winter storm and a cold front, plus high tides from a full moon, and experts said the rare hybrid storm that results will cause havoc over 800 miles from the East Coast to the Great Lakes.
"I've been here since 1997, and I never even put my barbecue grill away during a storm," Russ Linke said shortly before he and his wife left Ship Bottom on Saturday. "But I am taking this one seriously. They say it might hit here. That's about as serious as it can get."
He and his wife secured the patio furniture, packed the bicycles into the pickup truck, and headed off the island.
The danger was hardly limited to coastal areas. Forecasters were far more worried about inland flooding from storm surge than they were about winds. Rains could saturate the ground, causing trees to topple into power lines, utility officials said, warning residents to prepare for several days at home without power.