Hurricane Sandy STRENGTHENING as it Closes in on NYC; Mass Transit Shut Down, Millions Evacuated

NY Post - October 29, 2012

by SALLY GOLDENBERG, DAVID SEIFMAN and ANDY SOLTIS

Hurricane Sandy is strengthening - and it's closing in on New York City.

According to the National Hurricane Center's 5 a.m. advisory, the storm's maximum sustained winds have reached 85 miles per hour.

The eye of the storm was located about 385 miles away from New York City at 5 a.m., with Sandy's rain and winds looming. The worst of the storm - including a "life-threatening" seawater surge of anywhere from 6 to 11 feet - is expected in the region after 4 p.m.

Sandy is currently heading north and should turn inland toward the northwest today.

Millions of New Yorkers grappled with mandatory evacuations everywhere from Battery Park City to Coney Island to the Rockaways, a total mass-transit shutdown, and widespread school and service closures.

In preparation for Frankenstorm -- expected to peak in the city at about 4 p.m. -- officials:

* Shut city schools and mass transit until further notice.

* Ordered the mandatory evacuation of 375,000 people from low-lying areas.

* Put thousands of extra cops on duty and reassigned others to storm duty.

* Mobilized the National Guard to deal with impending mayhem.

* Declared a state of emergency for New York, qualifying it for federal aid.