NEW YORK — New York City officials have started to shut down the mass transit system ahead of Hurricane Irene, the first time it's been closed because of a natural disaster.
Final scheduled runs on all subway and bus lines started at noon. City officials say it will take about eight hours before the system will be shuttered.
It won't reopen until at least Monday, after pumps remove water from flooded stations. Even on a dry day, 13 million to 15 million gallons of water are removed from the tunnels deep underground.
The shutdown includes the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and Access-A-Ride.
The transit authority says the systems can't operate in sustained winds higher than 39 mph and say shutting down is a precaution.
Irene was heading north, and hurricane conditions were possible Saturday in New York.
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