Hurricane Irene, which became tropical storm travelled along 1,100 miles of US coastline leaving a trail of destruction as reaching far inland. Irene remnants began to dissipate over Canada while storm left behind at least 44 deaths, widespread flooding and millions of houses and buildings without power.
People started to get back to work as officials tried to clear the roads from fallen trees and train tracks and clear flooded tunnels. Airports have started to operate again but had to deal with around 9,000 flights cancelled as Irene struck.
Over 250 roads were closed in Vermont as the state experienced its worst floods for 75 years. Governor Peter Shumlin declared the state a federal disaster area as hundreds of people received evacuation orders.
“We prepared for the worst and we got the worst in central and southern Vermont,” Governor Shumlin said.
“We have extraordinary infrastructure damage.”
Hurricane Irene travelled along 1,100 miles of US coastline leaving a trail of destruction as reaching far inland
New York City escaped from the predicted flooding. Most of the New York subway lines were running by Monday morning.
The New York Stock Exchange opened as normal, though many employees faced problems getting into work.
But flooding was reported in all five boroughs, with the suburbs hardest hit and roads washed out in the Hudson River valley.
Flooding was expected in New Jersey along the Passaic and Ramapo rivers until Tuesday, according to authorities.
“The inland flooding … has been almost as much of a concern of mine as the coastal flooding,” said New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Atlantic surge and rainfall has caused severe flooding in the state. Governor Christie said the damage could reach tens of billions of dollars.
More than 1 million power outages in New Jersey and Pennsylvania as Irene swept through with hundreds of thousands still being without power on Monday.
The same situation was in Rhode Island, where 500,000 of residents, about half of state population, were without electricity on Sunday but most had it restored by Monday.
North Carolina was the most affected region, as it suffered the biggest blow, with at least 7 people killed in the state and 444,000 households left without power.
“Overall, the destruction is not as severe as I was worried it might be,” said North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue.
“But there’s still lots and lots of destruction, and people’s lives have been turned upside down.”
On Sunday, hurricane Irene passed over New York without major damage to the city, but the storm still caused deaths, serious floods and power blackouts affecting more than a million people as it swept up the US north-eastern seaboard.
Hurricane Irene weakened quickly after making landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey, at about 5:30 a.m., local time. Four hours later, it made landfall again at Coney Island.
Meanwhile Irene had been downgraded by the National Hurricane Center to a tropical storm with winds at around 65mph – much weaker than the 85mph that was forecast late on Saturday.
Irene’s biggest impact was felt on Sunday night in upstate New York and New England where many communities suffered devastating floods after rivers burst their banks and torrential rains fell on ground already saturated by unusually high downpours earlier this month.
Irene had been downgraded by the National Hurricane Center to a tropical storm with winds at around 65mph
In the Catskills mountain town of Windham, where Irene dropped 10 inches of rain starting on Saturday night, the downtown area was “wiped out” by flood water.
In nearby Prattsville, National Guard soldiers rescued 21 people who had been trapped in a motel by fast-moving water that blew out bridges and roads all over the county, according to Reuters.
Vermont was also experiencing its worst flooding in almost 40 years, according to local reports. Many towns, including Brattleboro, Wilmington, Rutland and Grafton, were under water on Sunday night.
President Barack Obama warned over the storm and its aftermath:
“This is a storm that has claimed lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost loved ones,” Barak Obama said.
“Many Americans are still at serious risk of power outages and flooding which could get worse in the coming days. I want people to understand that this is not over.”
Irene killed 3 people as it passed over the north-eastern seaboard.
In New Jersey a young woman was found dead in her car on a flooded rural road. The woman, 20 year-old, who has not yet been identified, had earlier called police after she and her car were washed away by a flash flood.
“She left her house, went in her car and was swept away,” said New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
About 30 miles (48km) north-west of Manhattan, in New York’s Rockland County, a man was electrocuted by a downed power line after he tried to save a child who had gone out into a flooded street that had live wires, officials said. The child is now in hospital in a serious condition.
In Prospect, Connecticut, another person was killed in a fire that investigators believe was sparked by fallen wires.
Irene death toll now stands at more than 15 with lives lost all along the storm’s track from the Carolinas to Virginia and up through Pennsylvania, where a man was killed in his tent by a falling tree, to New York and beyond.
A nuclear reactor in Maryland was shut down after it was damaged by wind. Others were taken offline or were operating at reduced capacity as precautionary measures.
More than 6 million homes and businesses lost power as the storm passed up the east coast. 2 million people were warned or received evacuation orders.
Flooding is likely to be the major problem this week. Parts of Philadelphia were heavily flooded, with water reaching street-sign levels in some areas. Flash flood warnings were issued up and down eastern and central Pennsylvania.
Tom Corbett, Pennsylvania governor said on Sunday: “The rivers may not crest until Tuesday or Wednesday. This isn’t just a 24-hour event.”
New York’s public transport system is likely to be disrupted next week. On Sunday, transport workers waited for winds to die down before they were able to inspect train and subway lines.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said it was too early to say when normal service would be resumed.
The region’s major airports were closed on Sunday and were likely to be closed for at least part of Monday as airlines waited for transport systems to be restored so passengers could reach them.
In 2012 the names will begin with Alberto, Beryl, Chris, and so on.
The last time Irene name was used was in 2005, the same year Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.
Like 74 other Atlantic hurricanes, Katrina’s name has been permanently retired to reduce confusion and show respect for those who lost their lives in the hurricane.
All hurricanes that result in extraordinary loss of life have their names retired, and are replaced by another name beginning with the same letter. The name Katrina was replaced with Katia, which will be the name assigned to the 11th hurricane in the 2011 season.
Irene 2005 never hit ashore and only reached Category 2, according to Saffir/Simpson Hurricane scale.
In 2011 Hurricane Irene is expected to reach Category 4 by the time it comes ashore.
Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Scale
Winds & Effects
74-95 mph (64-82 kt)
No real damage to building structures. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, and trees. Also, some coastal flooding and minor pier damage.
96-110 mph (83-95 kt)
Some roofing material, door, and window damage. Considerable damage to vegetation, mobile homes, etc. Flooding damages piers and small craft in unprotected moorings may break their moorings.
111-130 mph (96-113 kt)
Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings, with a minor amount of curtainwall failures. Mobile homes are destroyed. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with larger structures damaged by floating debris. Terrain may be flooded well inland.
131-155 mph (114-135 kt)
More extensive curtainwall failures with some complete roof structure failure on small residences. Major erosion of beach areas. Terrain may be flooded well inland.
155 mph+ (135+ kt)
18 ft +
Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. Flooding causes major damage to lower floors of all structures near the shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential areas may be required.
Hurricane Irene killed last night at least ten people, including two children, as the storm hit North Carolina and Virginia. More than 2 million people from South Carolina to Maryland were without power as the giant 580-mile-wide storm brought widespread flooding and high winds that knocked down power lines.
Meanwhile Irene’s power was downgraded to category 1, but as it approached New York, forecasts warned it would hit the city at or near hurricane strength.
According to the National Weather Service, conditions were ripe for tornadoes in the city, Long Island and southern Connecticut, as twisters were reported touching down in Delaware and Maryland.
In Maryland, officials warned of a potential dam failure late on Saturday, they warned “may cause significant flooding that could threaten people, homes and roads downstream from the St. Mary’s Lake Dam”.
Hurricane Irene path along East Coast
St Mary’s County Government urged residents in the immediate downstream area to move family and pets upstairs or to a high place with a means of escape.
Deaths due to hurricane Irene included two children, an 11-year-old boy in Virginia, killed when a tree crashed through his roof and another child from North Carolina, who died in a crash at an intersection where traffic lights were out.
Another man in Onslow County, North Carolina, suffered a heart attack and died while boarding up his windows, according to the Charlotte Observer.
Hurricane Irene killed last night at least ten people, including two children, as the storm hit North Carolina and Virginia, and more than 2 million people from South Carolina to Maryland were without power
A man in Nash County was killed outside his house after he was struck by a tree limb picked up by the strong winds.
An identified man, who went to feed his animals outside his Nashville, North Carolina home, was killed by a tree or branch which fell on him.
In Florida, a surfer was killed when he was knocked off his board at New Smyrna Beach, where surfers had flocked to take advantage of 10-foot waves.
Other two people died in car accidents in North Carolina on Saturday night as a result of the hurricane.
Another man died in Chesterfield County, Virginia, after a tree fell on his home.
In Queenstown, Maryland, a woman died after a tree knocked a chimney through the roof of her home, crushing her.
Sandbags laid down in Manhattan which will be used to control possible floods
Tornadoes were reported touching down in Delaware and Maryland.
In Lewes, Delaware, Governor Jack Markell said at least 17 homes had been damaged by a twister. In total, up to 40 houses were damaged in the town because of the storm.
The National Weather Service reported a tornado touching down in Nassau Station, Delaware, and Maryland State Police said there was an apparent tornado on the lower Eastern Shore of the state.
Andrew Cuomo, the New York Governor raised the number of National Guard soldiers deployed to New York City to 1,900.
The soldiers, who have been mobilized from across the state, will assist with traffic control on bridges and tunnels, sandbagging operations at the World Trade Center site, evacuation shelter operations in New York, the construction of barriers for railway yards and train tunnels, and other hurricane emergency efforts.
Hurricane Irene came ashore near North Carolina’s Cape Lookout around 7:30am EDT, and then chugged up the coast on a north-northeast track.
Irene stirred up 7 feet waves, and forecasts warned of storm-surge danger on the coasts of Virginia and Delaware, along the Jersey Shore and in New York Harbor and Long Island Sound.
Hurricane Irene hit Atlantic beach of North Carolina and one man was killed outside his home this morning.
The man was hit by a tree limb that blew down while he was walking around his house this morning in a rural area of Nash County, where winds were roaring at more than 60 mph, county Emergency Management Director Brian Brantley told the Associated Press.
Hurricane Irene hit Atlantic Beach, Cape Fear and the Outer Banks of North Carolina with Category 1 winds and rain and made landfall in Nags Head, North Carolina.
Hurricane Irene hit Atlantic Beach, Cape Fear and the Outer Banks of North Carolina with Category 1 winds and rain and made landfall in Nags Head
The center of hurricane hit the coast of North Carolina near Cape Lookout with Category 1-force winds of 85 mph.
Hurricane warnings for the next 48 hours have been issued for North Carolina, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, coastal Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Until now, eastern North Carolina has already seen three tornadoes in the past few days, and the majority of the state and areas of Maryland and Virginia are under tornado watches through Sunday.
Stacy town, on the coast of North Carolina, is seeing 93 mph wind gusts this morning.
The far end of the fishing pier in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina collapsed overnight.
The 100-foot long pier is still standing, but its end has disappeared into the ocean.
About 200,000 homes in North Carolina are experiencing power outages, according to Power Energy.
Winds up to 85 mph have ripped power lines from their poles, causing many of the shortages.
“Our crews are restoring service as quickly as possible, where it is safe to do so,” Power Energy tweeted.
The hardest hit areas were Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.
New York City authorities issued an unprecedented order on Friday for the evacuation of about 370,000 residents of low-lying areas at the city’s edges ahead of hurricane Irene.
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New York residents will be evacuated from the expensive apartments in Battery Park City to the roller coaster in Coney Island to the dilapidated boardwalk in the Rockaways, as evacuation order warnings that Hurricane Irene was such a threat that people living there simply had to get out.
New York officials also announced plans to shut down the city’s entire transit system Saturday — all 468 subway stations and 840 miles of tracks, and the rest of the nation’s largest mass transit network: thousands of buses in the city, as well as the buses and commuter trains that reach from Midtown Manhattan to the suburbs.
President Barak Obama approved a request from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo of New York to declare a federal emergency in the state while the hurricane was still several hundred miles away.
“The hurricane, 290 miles of fury dancing angrily across the Atlantic Ocean toward the coast, was actually advancing more slowly than most late-summer storms,” the National Weather Service said.
New York City hurricane evacuation zones.
[googlead tip=”patrat_mic” aliniat=”dreapta”]Friday night Weather Service forecast said rain associated with the storm would begin in Manhattan after 11 a.m. Saturday with conditions worsening into Sunday.
“You only have to look at the weather maps to understand how big this storm is and how unique it is,” New York mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a news conference on Friday at City Hall.
The increasingly ominous announcements from officials — and the wall-to-wall coverage — sent New Yorkers hurrying to buy staples like canned food and candles.
Shoppers in places found that the shelves had been cleaned out. In shore towns in New Jersey and on Long Island, touristss waited in lines at gas stations and watched as bulldozers built berms on low-lying beach roads.
The announcement about the transit shutdown and the evacuation of what the city called Zone A low-lying areas prompted a cascade of cancellations for Saturday and Sunday: Broadway shows, the Mets’ games against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field, the performances by the Dave Matthews Band on Governors Island and the outdoor showing of opera movies at Lincoln Center, among others. Even the New York Aquarium and the Bronx, Central Park and Prospect Park Zoos closed for the weekend.
[googlead tip=”lista_mare” aliniat=”stanga”]Starting at noon Saturday, all three major airports in the New York region will be closed to arriving flights.
They will remain open for departures, pending changes in the weather, but most of those scheduled departures have already been canceled, according to Steve Coleman, a Port Authority spokesman.
Authorities announced the subway shutdown was prompted mainly by wind estimates that suggested the hurricane could rock subway cars in places where they run above ground. The commuter rail lines that serve Long Island, Westchester County and Connecticut will also be shut down, as will New Jersey Transit operations. New Jersey Transit will suspend train service at noon Saturday and will stop bus service six hours later.
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that 91 evacuation centers and shelters opened on Friday for people who could not stay in their homes. The Nassau County executive, Edward P. Mangano, said 20 shelters would be open by the time the storm hit.
Consolidated Edison warned that it would have to cut off power to some customers if underground pipes and cables became submerged in water. To be ready for repairs, Consolidated Edison said it was bringing in 800 additional workers from as far away as Texas.
Mayor Bloomberg said no one would be fined for violating the city’s evacuation orders. “Nobody’s going to go to jail,” he said, but he warned that the storm’s consequences could be fatal.
[googlead tip=”patrat_mare”]At least 7 states – North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Delaware and Connecticut – declared emergencies as Hurricane Irene massively advances toward US Eastern Seaboard.
North Carolina is likely to take the first blow, according to officials.
Hurricane Irene advances toward the Eastern Seaboard with 115-mph winds and officials issued a hurricane warning for the entire North Carolina coast to the Virginia border.
New York officials ordered low-lying hospitals and nursing homes to evacuate.
If Hurricane Irene follows its current projected path, it will make landfall along North Carolina’s Outer Banks on Saturday.
Hurricane Irene passed Bahamas (AP photo).
“The Category 3 storm withdrew from the Bahamas late Thursday, traveling north at 14 mph,” the National Hurricane Center said.
[googlead tip=”vertical_mare” aliniat=”dreapta”] Although North Carolina will take the first hit, “the rest of the Eastern Seaboard is well within the path of this storm,” National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read said.
Chris Christie, New Jersey Governor said: “This could be a 100-year event.”
New York City officials said they might have to suspend all mass transit beginning Saturday. In addition to ordering nursing homes and hospitals in low-lying coastal areas to evacuate ahead of possible flooding, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg advised residents to stay out of parks.
“Because of the high winds that will accompany the storm, we are also urging all New Yorkers, for their own safety, to stay out of parks, where the high winds will increase the danger of downed trees and limbs,” Bloomberg said.
“And incidentally, it’s a good idea to stay out of your own backyard if you have trees there.”
Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial postponed it indefinitely because of the Hurricane Irene.
[googlead tip=”lista_mare” aliniat=”stanga”]More than 50 million people live in the projected path of the storm.
Irene has an outside chance of growing into a Category 4 storm, with sustained winds topping 130 mph. But current forecasts predict it will diminish to Category 2 after pummeling North Carolina, with sustained winds up to 110 mph as it plows into Virginia, Maryland and Delaware.
North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue declared an emergency in all counties east of Interstate 95, about a quarter of the state, and officials set up emergency shelters inland. President Obama declared North Carolina an emergency too, expediting federal help.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency established a depot for food, water, generators, baby formula and other emergency supplies at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, as well as at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey and Westover Air Reserve Base in Massachusetts.
Up to 200,000 tourists and residents are affected by evacuation orders in North Carolina alone, with states to the north rushing to prepare their own evacuation plans. Forecasters said Irene was so big and powerful that severe road flooding and widespread electrical outages were likely, especially in the Northeast, where the ground is saturated from recent rains.
“This is a very dangerous storm,” said Dorothy Toolan of the Dare County Emergency Management office in Manteo, North Carolina, across the Roanoke Sound from Nags Head.
“People really need to take this seriously.”
Hurricane Irene would be the first hurricane to hit the US mainland since Ike devastated the Texas coast in 2008.
Tourists on 16-mile-long Ocracoke Island off the coast of North Carolina have been evacuated ahead of Hurricane Irene.
Residents were asked to leave their homes Thursday morning as Hurricane Irene strengthened to a major Category 3 storm over the Bahamas with the East Coast in its sights. North Carolina Governor, Beverly Perdue said today at a news conference.
“It’s a standard precaution.”
“We want folks [in eastern North Carolina] to take this storm seriously and to get prepared.”
Perdue also urged coastal residents to be prepared and fill up their gas tanks, collect their prescription drugs and have cash in case the region is without power or other basics. Hurricane kits also should include water, canned food and other supplies.
[googlead tip=”patrat_mic” aliniat=”stanga”] However, Governor Perdue tried not to discourage tourists from visiting North Carolina’s coast, saying at this point the state’s southern beaches would avoid the brunt of the storm and predicted Irene would pass the state by Sunday morning – leaving intact the week leading up to the Labor Day holiday.
Governor defended comments she made Tuesday asking the media not to scare away tourists and urging tourists to keep visiting North Carolina.
“You will never endanger your tourists, but you also don’t want to overinflate the sense of urgency about the storm. And so let’s just hang on,” she said.
Tourists on 16 mile long Ocracoke Island off the coast of North Carolina have been evacuated ahead of Hurricane Irene
The today’s Ocracoke Island evacuation served as a “test” to see whether people would leave when faced with the possibility of a hurricane, according to the Associated Press.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation said in a tweet that ferries leaving the barrier island, part of the popular Outer Banks, are only half-full and traffic is moderate. They expect traffic to increase as the day goes on.
Hurricane Irene has passed through Puerto Rico and other parts of the Caribbean, and is headed for the East Coast, the Capital Weather Gang reports.
Hurricane current trajectory suggests that it will hit North Carolina directly, but nothing is certain. Should Irene stay on its current path, the National Hurricane Center’s forecast predicts that it will make landfall Saturday.
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In Ocracoke Island cars were lined up at gas pumps to fill tanks before leaving ahead of Irene, which had winds near 120 mph (193 kph) as of Wednesday afternoon.
Irene is expected to get stronger over warm ocean waters and could become a Category 4 storm with winds of at least 131 mph (211 km/h) by Thursday.
As Irene churned in the Caribbean, tourists scurried from hotels in the Bahamian capital of Nassau to catch flights off the island before the airport’s expected afternoon closure.
The first ferry to leave Ocracoke Island in North Carolina arrived just before 5:30 a.m. in nearby Hatteras with around a dozen cars on board.
The 16-mile-long barrier island is accessible only by boats that can carry no more than 50 cars at a time.
Ocracoke Island is home to about 800 year-round residents and a tourist population that swells into the thousands when vacationers rent rooms and cottages.
It wasn’t clear how many people on the first arriving ferry Wednesday morning were tourists, but the first two cars to drive off had New York and New Jersey plates.
State workers questioned people who tried taking the ferry to the island and turned a few cars around. In addition to the ferry line to Hatteras, there were two other ferry lines that went to and from the island.
Ocracoke is part of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, a roughly 200-mile stretch of fragile barrier islands off the state’s coast. Pristine beaches and wild mustangs attract thousands of tourists each year. Aside from Ocracoke, the other islands are accessible by bridges to the mainland and ferries. The limited access can make the evacuation particularly tense. Officials in counties covering the rest of the Outer Banks were to decide later Wednesday or Thursday whether to evacuate.
[googlead tip=”lista_mare” aliniat=”stanga”] All the barrier islands have the geographic weakness of jutting out into the Atlantic like the side-view mirror of a car, a location that’s frequently been in the path of destructive storms over the decades. In 1999, Hurricane Floyd made landfall as a Category 2 storm and caused a storm surge that wiped out scores of houses and other properties on the Outer Banks.
It’s been more than seven years since a major hurricane, considered a Category 3 with winds of at least 111 mph (179 km/h), hit the East Coast. Hurricane Jeanne came ashore on Florida’s east coast in 2004.
Wednesday, at 2 p.m. EDT, Irene was centered about 250 miles (402 km) southeast of Nassau in the Bahamas and was moving northwest near 12 mph (19 km/h).