WOODBURY - The MTA instituted a massive system-wide shutdown of its operations ahead of powerful Hurricane Irene.

The shutdown affects all Long Island Rail Road lines, the entire New York City subway system, all Metro-North train lines and all MTA-operated buses. The shutdown was instituted Saturday at noon and will likely remain in place until Monday, officials say.

With hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers under mandatory evacuation orders, many people scrambled to catch the last available rides this morning to seek higher ground.

MTA officials say systems can't safely operate in sustained winds higher than 39 mph. They say the shutdown is being done as a precaution.MTA InformationEvacuation InformationNews 12 Weather CenterEmergency InfoHurricane shelters on Long Island