New York City is on lockdown in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy, as it barrels towards America’s largest city, and its residents were quick to respond rushing to stock up the essentials.
Staples like bread, water, eggs, and produce have been flying off the shelves as the city’s 8 million residents prepare for the megastorm.
In addition, for only the second time in the subway’s hundred-year history, the entire metropolitan transit system, including buses, will be halted, starting at 7:00 p.m. tonight, adding a sense of urgency to New Yorker’s pre-storm preparations.
In a news conference shortly before noon, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that those living in low-lying areas must evacuate, and said that all public schools will be closed tomorrow.
The mayor urged residents of New York to stay inside as much as possible starting at sundown tonight, warning of high winds up to 70 mph and torrential rain.
In addition to low-lying areas of Manhattan, Michael Bloomberg ordered that residents of the Rockaways, a low-lying area of Queens by Jamaica Bay, evacuate.
“If you don’t evacuate, you are not only endangering your life, you are also endangering the lives of the first responders who are going in to rescue you,” he said today.
“This is a serious and dangerous storm.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo echoed Michael Bloomberg’s warnings.
“A situation like this, you don’t want to be overly panicked and overly prepared, but you want to be prudent, you want to do what’s necessary,” he said.
Andrew Cuomo also said the National Guard would be deployed, 200 troops in New York City, and 400 on Long Island.
In addition, nearly 4,000 flights were canceled for Monday, with 857 cancellations at Newark in New Jersey, followed by 632 at New York’s Kennedy Airport and more than 500 cancellations at both New York’s LaGuardia and Philadelphia International.
FlightAware said it expects the number of flight cancellations for Monday and Tuesday to “rise considerably”.
A spokesman for United Airlines parent United Continental Holdings Inc. told the Associated Press that the carrier has suspended an unspecified number of flights to New York and Washington-area airports beginning Sunday evening with plans to resume Tuesday as conditions permit.
JetBlue Airways, which flies out of JFK, said it has canceled more than 1,000 flights from Sunday through Wednesday morning.