NEW YORK -- New York City’s vast subway, bus and regional rail systems will be closed Sunday night in anticipation of dangerous winds and flooding from Hurricane Sandy, which is expected to begin slamming the area overnight.
“In a situation like this, you prepare for the worst and you hope for the best,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who announced the closures, said at a news briefing.
The closure, set to start at 7 p.m. Sunday, marks only the second time that the city's mass transit system has been intentionally shut down because of a natural disaster. The first time was in August 2011 before Tropical Storm Irene roared ashore.
The closure will affect subways and buses, as well as the Long Island Railroad and Metro North commuter railways.
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Cuomo said the shutdown is aimed at protecting the transit equipment, and the city’s more than 8 million residents.
"We don’t want to encourage people being up and about,” he said. “We want people staying in their homes.”
Cuomo said a decision on closing bridges and tunnels, which link the five boroughs and New Jersey, would be made "on a case-by-case basis." He said there were no immediate plans to close the area’s three international airports, but widespread flight delays and cancellations are expected.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg told residents Saturday to stay out of city parks starting Sunday and to stock up on basic supplies in case of a power outage. All construction in the city was ordered to be suspended starting Saturday night.
In addition, about 1,100 National Guard troops are being deployed in New York City and on Long Island.
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