Thousands of flights cancelled as Hurricane Sandy looms

New York City’s transit system was shut down last night and up to 375,000 residents were ordered to leave their homes as the one of the US’s most severe storms in recent history approaches. Schools have been shut as the city’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the approaching hurricane “a serious and dangerous storm ”.

Dubbed Frankenstorm, it could prove potentially catastrophic. Over 6,800 transatlantic and domestic US flighs have been cancelled as the one thousand mile east coast area due to be affected braces itself for the extreme weather.

British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Air France began cancelling flights yesterday (Sunday) and will not be flying in and out of New York and other US east coast destinations today.

BA has stopped all flights to and from New York, Baltimore, Washington, Boston and Philadelphia, with the exception of the BA238 from Boston. Customers can change their travel plans if they are due to travel to or from the east coast from October 26 to October 31.

Virgin has cancelled flights to and from New York, Washington and Boston and has also cancelled flights departing from JFK and Newark early tomorrow (Tuesday).

Flight tracker website flightaware.com reports that 1,251 flights in total were cancelled yesterday and another 5,559 flights today. A spokesperson said, "Every airline is allowing fee-free changes (and refunds in some cases) for itineraries potentially impacted by the storm.”

Hurricane Sandy has already swept across the Caribbean and 66 people are reported dead in the wake of it.

In New York all public transport has been cancelled and 375,000 people in low-lying areas have been ordered to evacuate. Even the New York Stock Exchange has closed today and may remain closed tomorrow. Experts say Hurricane Sandy will bring storm force winds of up to 73 mph.

High waves are expected to batter the coastline along New York City and Long Island to New Jersey, the Delmarva and Philadelphia areas.

In Washington, residents have even been urged to take Halloween decorations inside their homes, as pumpkins and heavy objects could become flying cannonballs, damaging windows and property.

The storm is testing the presidential campaign itinerary, too, as President Obama and Mitt Romey have had to change their schedules. The effects of Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath could last well into November 6, Election Day, because of floods, wind damage and power cuts.

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