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New York City readies snow plows for Hurricane Irene

Msnbc.com photojournalist Jonathan Woods reports that the city streets of Manhattan are quieter than usual too, in anticipation of Hurricane Irene's arrival first thing Sunday. Many businesses were shuttered as business owners prepared for the worst.

Jonathan D. Woods / msnbc.com

Department of Sanitation workers attach plows to garbage trucks in preparation for Hurricane Irene as the storm approaches New York on Saturday, Aug. 27.

He found subway platforms empty, and blocks-long lines of buses waiting to enter storage facilities. Probably the oddest sighting was finding city sanititation employees attaching snow plows to their trucks. The employees remarked that it was an unusual move and at this time, they were unclear why the city was making that particular preparation. We have calls into the New York Office of Emergency Management and will report back. (Update 7:05 ET: Keith Mellis, a spokesperson for the Dept. of Sanitation for New York City, says the plows are for moving debris. They are being added to trucks as a precaution in case Hurricane Irene leaves debris behind that needs to be quickly cleared to make way for emergency vehicles.)

In a press conference by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, two staging areas are prepared for equipment and personnel that are moving in from other areas of the state. One thousand workers and 100 dump trucks, excavators, backhoes along with trailers of water and food are expected.

Jonathan D. Woods / msnbc.com

Long lines of city buses wait in line for the bus depot near Broadway and 215th St., after the shutdown of the Metropolitan Transit Authority's mass transit system as Hurricane Irene approaches New York on Saturday, Aug. 27. They are pulling all of the buses off of the city streets and into garages, which many drivers said they had never seen before. These unusual steps are part of the reason why the MTA needed 8 hours to fully shut down the system.

 

Jonathan D. Woods / msnbc.com

The 215th St. subway station sits empty in northern Manhattan after the shutdown of the Metropolitan Transit Authority's subway system as Hurricane Irene approaches in New York on Saturday, Aug. 27. Threats of severe flooding from the storm resulted in the mandatory evacuation of 250,000 people, the cancellation of over 9,000 flights and the first weather-related complete shutdown of the city's mass transit system.

 See the latest images of Hurricane Irene's impact