New York Preparing to Shut Down Transport Systems on Saturday

What would a day in the life of a New Yorker be without MTA? With hurricane Irene ripping its way across the East Coast, New Yorkers are very likely to find out.

MTA released a statement yesterday in which it said, “The MTA is actively preparing for the impact of Hurricane Irene, coordinating with the Governor’s Office, Mayor’s Office and regional OEMs consistent with our Hurricane Plan.”

The statement added, “We are making arrangements to bring in extra personnel over the weekend, preparing our facilities and infrastructure by clearing drains, securing work sites against possible high winds, checking and fueling equipment, stocking supplies, and establishing plans to move equipment and supplies away from low-lying areas as needed.”

The MTA announced that there may be a partial or full shut down of services to ensure safety of employees and customers.

If winds hit above 39 mph, MTA would not be able to guarantee the safety of people aboard public transit.

However, the hurricane, which is reported as slated to be a Category 1 storm by the time it hits New York on Sunday, has the potential to bring winds as high as 90 mph.

Thus, MTA is preparing itself for an “unprecedented” total shutdown if winds do hit 39 mph.

The last time MTA dealt with such a high level disaster was during an unusual tornado back in 2007.

The biggest threat overall to the transit system is a storm surge, which would cause water levels to rise and result in flooding that would pour water into the subway tunnels cutting off electricity.

Mayor Bloomberg spoke at City Hall yesterday evening and said, “We hope for the best but we prepare for the worst.” He also added, “The storm is predicted to be very dangerous.”

More than 300 street fairs and outdoor events across New York City have been canceled due to the weather conditions and not only are people along the East Coast concerned.

Mike Fossum, a NASA astronaut that is currently in outer space told, “We saw a big change in the structure of the storm over the several days that we’ve watched her, especially yesterday.”

He added that Irene looks, “terrifying from above.”