the reality on the ground in new york city in advance of hurricane irene

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I’ve been in New York City for twenty-five years and what has happened today is unprecedented thus far – and Hurricane Irene hasn’t even hit yet. For those of you around the globe who do not know, New York City is one of the few cities in the world that can boast a twenty-four hour transportation system, including buses, trains and subways.

As of noon today, all city subways, buses, and trains were taken offline. An entire system shutdown – unprecedented in the city’s history. Further, Amtrak service in the Northeast Corridor was suspended, and New Jersey transit and PATH trains were shut down. The city’s airports were also closed.

Further, a mandatory evacuation order was sent to those residents of the city in Evacuation Zone A [fortunately my apartment is in Zone C – in lower manhattan in the green zone, a zone that would only be evacuated in a Category 3 scenario]. There are almost 400,000 residents in Zone A.

Over the past few hours, New York’s National Guard troops [up to 12,000] have been put on alert and now have available 15 Blackhawk helicopters, four Chinook helicopters, a monster C-130 cargo plane and six rescue helicopters.

The highways in and out of the city will soon be shut little by little, including the highway between New York City and Albany, the New York state capital. All major bridges, including the George Washington Bridge, considered the world’s most traveled bridge, will be closed in the coming hours.

The flyingnorthblog will continue to post updates from the center of the action in New York City.

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