Frantic passengers sprinted for the lastÂ trains pulling out of Grand Central Station in New York City this evening as theÂ transport system shut down for only the second time in history.
New York is on lock down in anticipation ofÂ Hurricane Sandy causing trains, the subway and buses to stop at 7pm on SundayÂ night.
Cavernous Grand Central on 42nd Street wasÂ eerily deserted as the NYPD patrolled to make sure every passenger hadÂ left.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that thoseÂ living in low-lying areasÂ must evacuate and that all public schools will beÂ closed tomorrow as the storm barrels towards the city.
Police officers went door-to-door tonight,Â taking the names of those who had ignored the mandatory evacuation order.
New Yorkers were quick to respond,Â rushingÂ to snatch up essentials and leaving lines stretching out the doors of groceryÂ stores. Staples like bread and water flewÂ off the shelves as the city’sÂ 8million residents prepared for theÂ megastorm.
The mayor urged residents of New York to stayÂ inside as much as possibleÂ starting at sundown tonight, warning of windsÂ reaching more than 80mph andÂ torrential rain.
In addition to low-lying areas of Manhattan,Â Bloomberg ordered thatÂ residents of the Rockaways, a low-lying area of QueensÂ by Jamaica Bay,Â evacuate.
‘If youÂ don’t evacuate, you are not onlyÂ endangering your life, you are alsoÂ endangering the lives of the firstÂ responders who are going in to rescue you,’ he said today.
‘This is a serious and dangerousÂ storm.’
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo echoedÂ Bloomberg’s warnings. ‘A situation like this, you don’t want to beÂ overlyÂ panicked and overly prepared, but you want to be prudent, youÂ want to do what’sÂ necessary,’ he said.
Cuomo also said the National Guard would beÂ deployed, 200 troops in New York City, and 400 on Long Island.