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Travel Headaches: Sandy Shuts Down Subways, Cancels Flights

Pedestrians pass a New York Police Department station beside a closed subway entrance at Times Square on Monday.
John Minchillo
Pedestrians pass a New York Police Department station beside a closed subway entrance at Times Square on Monday.

Even before making landfall in the United States, Sandy is already causing some massive travel headaches:

-- In the air, 8,000 flights have been cancelled through Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reports.

-- The Atlantic Cities reports the hurricane has led "to an unprecedented preemptive response from officials." The New York, Washington, D.C. and Boston subway systems have been shutdown.

Amtrak has shutdown its entire northeast corridor route through Tuesday.

-- In New York City, the Holland and Battery tunnels have been closed. In Maryland, the Hatem Bridge has closed and the Bay Bridge and Tydings Bridge are sure to follow.

All of this means that locals are inconvenienced but many travelers are stranded and may be stranded until Thursday.

The New Jersey Star Ledger reported from Newark Airport. They found travelers sleeping in the hallways of the airport. They're sleeping on mattresses on the floor or in other, better cases on cots.

The paper found Felicia Johnson sleeping at a makeshift shelter in Terminal B. She had already spent one night in a restaurant booth in Terminal A, after her connecting flight was cancelled.

The paper reports: "She hoped her rescheduled flight would depart as planned at 6:30 pm Tuesday, so that she could be home for a back operation scheduled for Wednesday. 'I've taken some Tylenol,' said Johnson, who was glad to at least have a cot and a blanket. 'It's better than the booth.'"

In a story today, the Associated Press concentrated on the economic impact of Sandy.

Counting the travel costs and the damages, experts estimate this storm may cause between $10 billion to $20 billion, which " could top last year's Hurricane Irene, which cost $15.8 billion."

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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