Nearly 300,000 New York City residents were told Friday to get out of their homes in a first-ever mandatory evacuation as officials ordered an unprecedented shutdown of the city’s mass transit system for Saturday in advance of Hurricane Irene, raising the prospect of a singular scramble as hundreds of thousands of residents try to get out of the massive storm’s way.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered an evacuation by 5 p.m. Saturday for low-lying areas that house about 270,000 people. Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said subways, buses and commuter trains in the city, on Long Island and in the northern suburbs will begin their final runs around noon Saturday.
Officials earlier ordered Fire Island evacuated, starting half an hour ago.