The Straits Times
Published on Oct 29, 2012

Eastern US in lockdown ahead of huge storm


NEW YORK (AFP) - Much of the eastern United States battened down on Monday awaiting the arrival of a hurricane dubbed "Frankenstorm" that threatened to wreak havoc on the area with storm surges, driving rain and gale-force winds.

New York authorities ordered the evacuation on Sunday of 375,000 people from low-lying coastal areas as the imminent arrival of Hurricane Sandy forced the entire eastern seaboard to a virtual standstill.

More than 7,400 flights out of east coast hubs were cancelled and ground transport was due to grind to a halt on as non-essential government staff were told not to show up for work and public schools were shuttered. Amtrak suspended all bus and train services up and down the coast. Subway services, buses and commuter trains were also shut down in New York, Philadelphia and Washington.

Hundreds of thousands of residents in low-lying coastal areas were under orders to clear out with some localities resembling ghost towns as the deadline passed for mandatory evacuation.