NEW YORK, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- Shelters opened, public transportation and schools were ordered to be closed as monster Hurricane Sandy was heading towards New York city.
The weather was expected to worsen with high winds and heavy rains starting to batter the region as early as Sunday night, the director of the National Hurricane Center, Rick Knabb said.
It's reported that the extremely rare and dangerous storm will turn in from the Atlantic, affecting 60 million people in its path and could lead to billions of dollars in damage.
In New York City, officials announced contingency plans to begin shutting down the subways, buses and regional rail lines starting at 7 p.m. Sunday. The duration of the service suspension is unknown, and there is no timetable for restoration. All the public schools will be closed on Monday.
New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg ordered the people in lower Manhattan and in the coastal areas to evacuate. "This is a serious and dangerous storm," Bloomberg told a conference, announcing that 72 shelters in schools and other buildings are provided.
He also told residents to stay out of city parks starting on Sunday and to stock up on basic supplies. All construction was ordered to be suspended starting on Saturday night.
President Barack Obama has been briefed on the hurricane and the White House is urging people in the storm's path to listen to local officials and monitor weather reports. Spokesman Jay Carney said federal emergency management officials have been working with local officials to prepare.
Sandy was headed north from the Caribbean, where it has already claimed more than 60 lives, and was expected to hook left toward the mid-Atlantic coast and come ashore early Monday, most likely in New Jersy, colliding with a wintry storm moving in from the west and cold air streaming down from the Arctic.
One week ahead of the election day, the hurricane also has disturbed the election preparations of President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, with Obama having canceled a campaign appearance in Virginia on Monday and another stop in Colorado on Tuesday. Instead, he will monitor the storm from Washington, according to the White House.
Romney also rescheduled campaign events planned for Virginia on Sunday and was flying to Ohio instead.