Saturday, August 27, 2011

Subway closes in New York as hurricane nears

James Barron in the New York Times: New York became a city without one of its trademarks — the nation’s largest subway system — on Saturday as Hurricane Irene charged northward and the city prepared to face powerhouse winds that could drive a wall of water over the beaches in the Rockaways and between the skyscrapers in Lower Manhattan.

The city worked to complete its evacuation of about 370,000 residents in low-lying areas where officials expected flooding to follow the storm, and the transportation system — the subways, along with buses and commuter rail lines — shut down at noon. Police officers sounded the warning, strolling along subway platforms and telling people the next train would be the last. The conductor of a No. 4 train that pulled into the Borough Hall station in Brooklyn at 12:14 p.m. had the same message.

...Soon subway employees were stretching yellow tape across the entrances to stations to keep people from going down the steps and into an underground world that was suddenly off limits, but not deserted. Transit workers were charged with executing a huge, mostly underground ballet, moving 200 subway trains away from outdoor yards that could flood if the storm delivered the 6 to 12 inches of rain that forecasts called for. The trains were to be parked in underground tunnels across the city, making regular runs impossible.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said that mass transit was “unlikely to be back” in service on Monday. The mayor also said that electricity could be knocked out in Lower Manhattan if Consolidated Edison to shut off the power pre-empt the problems that flooding could cause for its cables...

New York City subway map, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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