Mayor Michael Bloomberg insisted just now that New Yorkers are encountering the last hours to flee their apartments -- he said the heart of the storm will hit tonight.


“The window for you getting out safely is closing,” he said to residents still in Zone A, where he ordered a mandatory evacuation.


And in fact, he added, “If they haven’t left in two or three hours, they probably shouldn’t leave,” saying it would be too dangerous to travel.


Bloomberg said Hurricane Sandy is expected to slam into Atlantic City this evening.


He estimated New Yorkers will feel the height of wind and surf around 8 p.m. tonight, alongside winds of 70 to 80 miles per hour.

“The real flooding is going to come tonight,” he said.

The mayor cancelled school for tomorrow, saying the subway will not be back up at that point. And starting at 2 p.m. today, the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and Holland Tunnel will be closed.

About 3,100 people are in emergency shelters so far, along with about 70 pets, he said, which the shelters accept.

“It’s just dangerous to be out on the streets when the wind is this high,” he said. “It may be a good time to stay hunkered in your home and have a sandwich out of the fridge.”

Rockaway Beach could see surges from nine to 10 feet, he added.

“Tomorrow morning we expect to be very wet,” he said.

President Barack Obama also addressed the nation this afternoon, saying, “This is going to be a big and powerful storm.”

He urged Americans to listen to politicians urging evacuations.

“When they tell you to evacuate, evacuate,” he said. “Do not delay, don’t pause, don’t question.”