NYC transit agency finishes Irene system shutdown

By the Associated Press | August 27, 2011 | 11:25 PM EDT

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City transit officials say they've finished an unprecedented shutdown of the nation's biggest system of subways, buses and commuter rails ahead of Hurricane Irene.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said Saturday night it had secured all its equipment and sent employees home. The transit system stopped running at noon Saturday. It's the first time officials have ordered the giant network shut down because of bad weather.

Sandbags and tarps were placed on or around subway grates.

The transit system won't reopen until at least Monday, after pumps remove water from flooded stations. The subways routinely flood during even ordinary storms and have to be pumped out.