UK & World News
Hurricane Sandy: Dozens Of Flights Cancelled
Flights to and from airports in the north east of the United States have been cancelled due to the impending landfall of Hurricane Sandy.
British Airways flights to and from New York's JFK airport, Newark airport in New Jersey, Baltimore airport in Maryland and Boston airport in Massachusetts, have been cancelled.
Virgin Atlantic flights to and from New York, Washington and Boston have also been halted.
Both airlines told passengers to check their websites for further details.
British Airways said: "We understand that customers may be disappointed, however their safety is our highest priority. We are offering the option to rebook or receive a refund to those customers whose flights are cancelled."
Virgin Atlantic also warned passengers of cancelled flights not to travel to departure airports and advised travellers to check their flight status page for the latest information.
Meanwhile, more than 375,000 residents of the US east coast have been told to leave their homes amid fears of possible 11ft storm surges near New York.
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered the mandatory evacuation ahead of the storm's arrival and said 72 evacuation centres had been set up around the city in schools and community centres.
The New York Stock Exchange will close its trading floor on Monday, but transactions will continue electronically.
"This is a serious and dangerous storm," Mr Bloomberg said.
"If you don't evacuate you are not just putting your own life in danger, you are also endangering the lives of the first responders who may have to come in and rescue you."
The hurricane is expected to start hitting the area overnight, with the worst weather following on Monday due to tropical storm winds extending some 520 miles from its epicentre.
All of the city's public schools have been closed, and the evacuation zone includes parts of Coney Island, Manhattan Beach and other areas along the east river in Brooklyn.
Stretches of the Lower east side, Staten Island and Manhattan are also included in the danger zone and President Barack Obama said authorities needed to take Sandy 'seriously' and advised residents to listen to state officials for guidance.
"We don't yet know where it's going to hit, where we're going to see the biggest impacts. And that's exactly why it's so important for us to respond big and respond fast as local information starts coming in," he said.
"My main message to everybody involved is that we have to take this seriously. The federal government is working effectively with the state and local governments. It's going to be very important that populations in all the impacted states take this seriously, listen to your state and local elected officials".
Hurricane Sandy is heading north from the Caribbean, where it has killed 65 people.
The majority of the deaths have happened in Haiti and the area around the capital Port-au-Prince, which holds most of the 370,000 Haitians who are still living in flimsy shelters as a result of the devastating 2010 earthquake.
Officials said 51 people have died there although the number is expected to rise.
"This is a disaster of major proportions," Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe said.
The hurricane is expected to affect up to 60 million people in the US when it meets a winter storm and a cold front, plus high tides from a full moon.
Parts of West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and North Carolina could get 2ft or more of snow in places, experts said.
Experts said the rare hybrid storm that results will cause havoc over 800 miles, from the Atlantic coast inland to the Great Lakes.
Sandy was at Category One strength with 75mph winds, about 260 miles south east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and moving northeast at 15mph at midnight GMT on Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Centre in Miami.
It was about 395 miles south of New York City and expected to make landfall on Monday afternoon.
US rail operator Amtrak began cancelling train service Saturday night, including services between Washington and New York.
Domestic airlines also moved planes out of airports to avoid damage, and added Sunday flights out of New York and Washington ahead of flight cancellations on Monday.
The Virginia National Guard had been authorised to call up 500 troops for debris removal and road-clearing, while homeowners stacked sandbags at their front doors in coastal towns.