Frantic passengers sprinted for the last trains pulling out of Grand Central Station in New York City this evening as the transport system shut down for only the second time in history.
New York is on lock down in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy causing trains, the subway and buses to stop at 7pm on Sunday night.
Cavernous Grand Central on 42nd Street was eerily deserted as the NYPD patrolled to make sure every passenger had left.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that those living in low-lying areas must evacuate and that all public schools will be closed tomorrow as the storm barrels towards the city.
Police officers went door-to-door tonight, taking the names of those who had ignored the mandatory evacuation order.
New Yorkers were quick to respond, rushing to snatch up essentials and leaving lines stretching out the doors of grocery stores. Staples like bread and water flew off the shelves as the city’s 8million residents prepared for the megastorm.
The mayor urged residents of New York to stay inside as much as possible starting at sundown tonight, warning of winds reaching more than 80mph and torrential rain.
In addition to low-lying areas of Manhattan, 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 Governor Andrew Cuomo echoed 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.
Cuomo also said the National Guard would be deployed, 200 troops in New York City, and 400 on Long Island.