NYC Transit Agency Finishes Irene System Shutdown

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

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UPDATE: Saturday, August 27, 2011

New York City transit officials say they've finished an unprecedented shutdown of the nation's biggest system of subways, buses and commuter rails ahead of Hurricane Irene.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said Saturday night it had secured all its equipment and sent employees home. The transit system stopped running at noon Saturday. It's the first time officials have ordered the giant network shut down because of bad weather.

Sandbags and tarps were placed on or around subway grates.

The transit system won't reopen until at least Monday, after pumps remove water from flooded stations. The subways routinely flood during even ordinary storms and have to be pumped out.

The transit system carries about 5 million passengers on an average weekday. The last time it was seriously hobbled was an August 2007 rainstorm that disabled or delayed every subway line.


UPDATE: Saturday, August 27, 2011

Forecasters say Hurricane Irene is drenching the mid-Atlantic states on its way to New England.

Irene's sustained winds on Saturday night are blowing at 80 mph with higher gusts and the storm is moving north-northeast at 16 mph. It's expected to pick up speed.

Hurricane warnings extend north to Nantucket, Mass. A tropical storm warning extends all the way to the south coast of Nova Scotia, Canada.

The National Hurricane Center says Irene will be moving over cooler waters but is still expected to stay a hurricane until landfall again near Long Island, N.Y., about midday Sunday.

The storm has knocked out power to at least 1.8 million customers from North Carolina to New Jersey.


UPDATE: Saturday, August 27, 2011

The National Guard is poised to help with efforts related to Hurricane Irene, with at least 7,500 troops, helicopters and other equipment ready to be deployed.

National Guard Bureau operations director Maj. Gen. David Harris told The Associated Press on Saturday the help will be made available from the South to the Northeast, along the hurricane's trail.

States affected by Irene have made few requests so far. But Harris says he expects that to change as more information about the damage in the storm's wake is known.

The hurricane has thrashed North Carolina and Virginia, knocking out power to more than 1.5 million homes and businesses, destroying piers and killing at least six people.

It's expected to make landfall farther north Sunday morning.


UPDATE: Saturday, August 27, 2011

Forecasters say Hurricane Irene is chugging faster through the Atlantic as moves over warm waters about 35 miles southeast of Norfolk, Va.

Irene's sustained winds remain at hurricane strength at 80 mph.

The National Weather Service said Saturday evening that the storm was moving north-northeast at 16 mph, up from 13 mph. It is expected to remain a hurricane into New England.

Irene's center is forecast to move along the Mid-Atlantic coast Saturday night and over New England on Sunday. It includes New York City.

A hurricane warning has been discontinued south of Surf City in North Carolina.


UPDATE: Saturday, August 27, 2011

Here is a state-by-state glance on how Hurricane Irene is affecting states along the Eastern Seaboard as of early Saturday afternoon:

-- Irene predicted to make landfall Sunday somewhere between New Jersey and Cape Cod. Storm's track forecast through central parts of Connecticut.
-- Hurricane warning for coast.
-- Fairfield ordered a mandatory evacuation for shoreline residents as of noon Saturday, affecting 5,000 to 6,000 people.
-- Millstone nuclear power plant to be shut down if winds exceed 90 mph.
-- Last hurricane to hit was Bob in 1991.
-- Irene likely to cause prolonged power outages and flooding in low-lying areas along the shoreline.
-- President Barack Obama and governor declare state of emergency. National Guard mobilized.

-- Hurricane warning statewide.
-- Flood watch in effect.
-- Storm center to pass near the New Jersey/Delaware coast around 8 a.m. Sunday.
-- Governor orders mandatory evacuation of coastal areas.
-- Last hurricane to hit was Floyd in 1999.
-- State opened shelters in all three counties.

-- Irene predicted to reach northern New England Sunday night.
-- Governor declared an emergency.
-- Heavy rain expected to start Saturday night. Potential for flooding rains and gusty winds.
-- No evacuations planned.
-- Lobstermen began moving their fishing gear farther offshore to avoid damage amid expectations of 30-foot seas.

-- Hurricane warning for St. Mary's County and Chesapeake Bay near the mouth of the Potomac River.
-- Tropical storm warning for Baltimore to Eastern Shore to D.C. suburbs.
-- Flash flood watch in Baltimore-Washington metro region and southern Maryland.
-- Mandatory evacuations ordered for Ocean City, coastal Worcester County, homes near cliffs in Calvert County.
-- Governor declares state of emergency.
-- Maryland Transit Administration announced service suspension beginning Saturday evening.
-- Last hurricane to hit was Floyd in 1999.
-- Assateague State Park closing until Wednesday; most state park campgrounds closed.

-- Irene predicted to make landfall in southern New England on Sunday.
-- Hurricane warnings issued for Martha's Vineyard. Hurricane watch in effect for the coastline to the mouth of the Merrimack River.
-- The governor and president declared a state of emergency. The governor deployed 500 National Guard troops, saying an additional 2,000 troops will be activated Saturday.
-- Mandatory evacuations have not been ordered.
-- Last hurricane to hit was Bob in 1991.
-- Red Cross is positioning emergency response vehicles, mobilizing disaster workers and preparing supplies.
-- Forecasts placed the storm's track through central Massachusetts.

-- Forecasters predict Irene to reach northern New England Sunday night.
-- Heavy rain expected to start Saturday night. Potential for flooding rains and gusty winds.
-- No evacuations planned since path uncertain.
-- Governor directed state Emergency Operations Center to be opened.
-- The Red Cross plans to open four shelters.
-- Organizers of the annual Hampton Beach Talent Competition condensed the three-night schedule to two, telling competitors "it's one song for all the marbles."

-- Forecasters predicted storm would pass over, or more likely, near New Jersey by midday Sunday.
-- Hurricane warning in effect for coastal and southern counties.
-- Mandatory evacuations ordered for nearly 1 million visitors and residents of Cape May County, coastal Atlantic County and Long Beach Island.
-- Governor and president declare state of emergency.
-- Governor says more than 5,000 people already in shelters as hurricane threatens.
-- New Jersey Transit trains and buses to shut down Saturday.
-- Last hurricane to hit the state was remnants of Hurricane Floyd in 1999, which caused major flooding inland.
-- Atlantic City casinos shutting down for only the third time since gambling was legalized 33 years ago.

-- Irene predicted to make landfall Sunday as a Category 1 storm between New Jersey and Cape Cod.
-- Hurricane watch and a flood watch issued for Long Island, New York City and suburban Rockland, Westchester and Putnam counties.
-- Mandatory evacuations ordered for New York City residents in low-lying coastal areas that are home to 370,000.
-- The governor declared a state of emergency and the state's
Office of Emergency Management increased staffing in its
underground bunker.
-- New York City's public transit to be halted around noon Saturday because of the hurricane. The five New York-area airports will stop allowing incoming flights at noon Saturday. Many departures were also canceled.
-- Taxis in New York City were to switch from metered fares to zone fares Saturday morning.

-- Irene made landfall Saturday morning near Cape Lookout. Storm surge prediction of up to 11 feet in Pamlico Sound and up to 9 feet along Outer Banks.
-- More than 90,000 lose power.
-- Hurricane warning for entire coast.
-- Governor and president declared emergency for the state.
-- Eighteen eastern counties under some form of mandatory or voluntary evacuation.
-- Frisco Fire Chief ordered 75 body bags to supplement the town's normal supply of 10.
-- 1,300 prisoners evacuated from two coastal prisons.
-- Ferry service suspended Friday and will not resume until winds subside.
-- Last hurricane to hit was Isabel in 2003.
-- More than 60 shelters open in 26 counties.

-- Hurricane warnings in effect for Philadelphia and Delaware counties. Tropical storm warnings in effect for other parts of eastern Pennsylvania.
-- Governor declares state of emergency.
-- Tropical storms forecast as early as Saturday afternoon.
-- Half-foot or more of rain expected. In Philadelphia, the rain forecast follows an already single-month record of more than 13 inches.
-- Mass transit serving Philadelphia and its suburbs to halt at 12:30 a.m. Sunday.
-- Residents of low-lying areas in two Delaware County communities told to evacuate.
-- Last hurricane to hit was Floyd in 1999.
-- Flood and flash flood watches are in effect for parts of northeastern and central Pennsylvania through Sunday.

-- Irene predicted to make landfall Sunday. Six to 10 inches of rain expected to fall starting as early as Saturday night.
-- State of emergency declared.
-- Hurricane watch issued for much of the state. Tropical storm watch for portions of two inland counties.
-- Mandatory evacuations ordered for low-lying communities in Narragansett, South Kingstown and Bristol by 10 a.m. Sunday. Parts of Westerly are under evacuation orders by 6 p.m. Saturday.
-- Last hurricane to hit was Bob in 1991, which made landfall twice.
-- Residents warned to expect prolonged power outages and property damage.
-- Three-hundred National Guard troops on standby.

-- Irene was moving away from the state Saturday morning.
-- Tropical storm warnings remained in effect from Edisto Island to North Carolina state line.
-- No mandatory evacuations ordered.
-- Last hurricane to hit was Charley in 2004.
-- Downtown Charleston reported 49 mph wind gust just before noon Friday.
-- Beach erosion reported at high tide Friday evening on Edisto Island and Folly Beach.
-- About 5,000 customers without power from storms in Irene's outer bands.

-- Forecasters predict Irene to reach northern New England on Sunday night.
-- Heavy rain expected to start Saturday night. Potential for flooding rains and gusty winds.
-- No evacuations planned since path uncertain.
-- Parts of the state hard-hit by Memorial Day weekend flash flooding were bracing for another round.

-- Forecasters predict Irene to make landfall around 2 a.m. Sunday.
-- Hurricane watch for coast.
-- Governor declared emergency, says people who defy mandatory evacuation orders can be prosecuted.
-- Mandatory evacuations ordered for at least 11 localities, among them the Sandbridge section of Virginia Beach, a barrier island dotted with rentals, Accomack on the Eastern Shore, and for low-lying areas of Norfolk, Hampton and Portsmouth.
-- 11-year-old Virginia boy dies when tree felled by storm crashes through apartment building.
-- Apparent tornado heavily damages five homes in the Sandbridge area.
-- Last hurricane to hit the state was Isabel in 2003.
-- Shelters opening in at least 14 counties and 12 cities, including Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Hampton.
-- The Navy ordered the Second Fleet out to sea to escape the storm.

-- Tropical storm warning and flash flood watch.
-- No mandatory evacuations ordered.
-- Mayor has declared state of emergency.
-- Last hurricane to hit was Hazel in 1954.
-- One of the area's largest power suppliers warns that D.C. and surrounding suburbs could have widespread outages that could take days to restore.
-- Approach of hurricane forced postponement of Sunday's dedication of Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.
-- Impending storm prompts Walter Reed Army Medical Center to accelerate transfer of last remaining patients to new facility in Bethesda, Md.
-- City gives away sandbags to residents for a second day.


UPDATE: Saturday, August 27, 2011

Forecasters say tropical storm conditions are spreading into Virginia, Maryland and Delaware as Hurricane Irene moves northward.

The National Hurricane Center said Saturday morning that Irene was still hitting eastern North Carolina with heavy rain and wind, but that those conditions were spreading north. Tropical storm-force winds of more than 39 mph extend some 260 from Irene's eye.

Irene was centered about 120 miles south of Norfolk, Va. It was
moving north-northeast at 15 mph. Maximum sustained winds remained around 85 mph.

The center of Irene is expected to pass near the mid-Atlantic coast Saturday night and into New England on Sunday.


UPDATE: Saturday, August 27, 2011

New York City's mayor says residents who need to evacuate should do it immediately.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke at a news conference Saturday
morning ahead of the anticipated arrival of Hurricane Irene. He says residents who have to leave the city should go right away because transit systems will shut down at noon, bridges may close and the city doesn't have enough resources to evacuate everyone after the weather worsens. Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for 370,000 New Yorkers who live mostly in low-lying areas.

Irene made landfall in North Carolina on Saturday, and the storm is expected to reach New York on Sunday.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene has weakened slightly, with the storm's wind speeds dropping some as it treks up the East Coast.

On Saturday morning, shortly after Irene made landfall near Cape Lookout, N.C., forecasters said Irene's winds had dropped to 85 mph. Irene's maximum sustained winds had topped 100 mph a day earlier.

Nonetheless, forecasters say Irene remains a large and dangerous storm as it moves toward the mid-Atlantic and New England. It was just north of Cape Lookout on Saturday morning, moving north-northeast at 14 mph.

Irene had already soaked coastal North Carolina, knocking out power in some areas.

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