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Hurricane Sandy: NYC subways, buses and Metro-North may shut down Sunday

A Metro-North train pulls into a station in

A Metro-North train pulls into a station in this file photo. (March 27, 2012) Photo Credit: Angela Gaul

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will keep Metro-North and its subway and bus services running through Sunday, when the agency will decide if it needs to shut down in the face of Hurricane Sandy.

"No decisions are being made yet but planning is going on at the MTA," Joseph Lhota, the chairman of the MTA, said at a news conference Saturday afternoon.

"If this storm continues on the path that it's on -- and it's not being very consistent from hour to hour -- [but] if it continues with tropical storm winds Sunday night to Monday morning and a surge from four to eight feet, it's a great concern," Lhota said.

If the agency decides to shut down service, a slowdown will begin at 7 p.m. Sunday with all trains and buses coming to a halt by 3 a.m. Monday.

"It's my hope that it doesn't happen and the storm dissipates as we expect it to," Lhota said. "We want to wait until we have enough information on what's happening with the storm" to make the final call, he added.

One Metro-North train scheduled for Sunday on the New Haven Line -- a direct train to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford for the New York Jets-Miami Dolphins pro football game -- has already been canceled.

The MTA's hurricane plan calls for shutting down service before sustained winds of 39 mph arrive.

When wind gusts reach between 39 and 50 mph, traffic on bridges starts to slow down, Lhota said.

"Each and every one of the MTA bridges will be shut down if we get up to 60 mile per hour winds," Lhota said.

Regardless of weather, when winds reach 50 mph, vehicles such as motorcycles, tractor-trailers, step vans, minibuses, trucks with open backs, cars pulling trailers, motor homes and vehicles carrying plate glass are barred from using MTA crossings.

Metro-North Railroad and New York City Transit workers began taking several steps on Friday to protect equipment and make it easier to deal with the effects of high winds and flooding. At 8 a.m. Sunday, New York City Transit's Incident Command Center will be activated.

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