Weakened Hurricane Irene blasts New York

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GMT - 11 Hours Weakened Hurricane Irene blasts New York

Post by ~lonely princess~ on Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:04 pm

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NEW YORK: A weakened Hurricane Irene tore Sunday into New York, hammering Manhattan's skyscrapers with fierce winds and threatening to flood the financial district after killing at least nine people along the US east coast.

The first hurricane to hit the Big Apple for a generation swept in overnight, accompanied by lightning, reports of tornados and deafening rainfall.

As Irene approached the New Jersey shore, its wind strength diminished substantially, dropping to just 75 miles (120 kilometers) an hour, at the threshold of hurricane status. But it still remained a massive storm.

The hurricane made its second landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey, just before sunrise Sunday.

Meanwhile, New York City resembled a ghost town after 370,000 people were told to evacuate flood-prone areas, including near Wall Street and at Coney Island, and mass transport was shut down.

Subway trains, buses and the famous Staten Island ferry all closed Saturday, as did all nearby airports, paralyzing the nation's biggest city.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg told a press conference that running from the storm was no longer possible.

"At this point, if you haven't evacuated, our suggestion is you stay where you are," he said. "Nature is a lot stronger than the rest of us."

Irene made US its first landfall at 8:00 am (1200 GMT) Saturday at Cape Lookout, North Carolina, near a chain of barrier islands and quickly proved deadly.

At least nine people died Saturday -- in car accidents, by heart attack and by falling trees -- in North Carolina, Virginia and Florida. The youngest victim, an 11-year-old boy, died when a tree crashed through his apartment building in Newport News, Virginia.

The storm then reentered the ocean off the coasts on Virginia and Maryland.

On its passage up the coast, Irene knocked out power supplies for well over a million people, triggered the cancelation of more than 8,000 flights, and forced nearly two million people to evacuate, half of them in New Jersey.

Officials in New York said the biggest danger was from flooding caused not just because of tropical-style rainfall, but a surge of wind-driven seawater pushing up from the Atlantic, especially at high tide early Sunday.

City areas at risk of being swamped included parts of the financial district in Manhattan and low-lying beach resorts in Brooklyn and Queens and on nearby Long Island. Boat owners scrambled to get their craft ashore and officials across New Jersey and New York pleaded with residents to keep off beaches.

Officials say Manhattan's skyscrapers are not at risk of serious damage, but warn that power outages might strand residents without light, water or elevators.

The disruption took on an international character after the area's three big airports -- John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia and Newark -- were ordered to stop all flights at 10:00 pm (0200 GMT).

The flightaware.com website, which tracks airport arrivals and departures, estimated that 8,337 flights would be canceled during the weekend, mainly US domestic trips. It warned that the figure would rise.

President Barack Obama, who cut short his summer vacation, visited the Federal Emergency Management Agency's operations center in Washington, where he said the east coast was in for a "long 72 hours."

Obama chaired a meeting at the National Response Coordination Center set up to marshaling federal and local hurricane-relief efforts.

"This is going to be a tough slog getting through this thing," Obama said during a video teleconference including senior federal officials and local government agencies.

Some 65 million people live in the urban corridor from Washington north to Boston, and experts have said the damage could cost anything up to $12 billion to restore.

"This is going to be a very serious storm, no matter what the track is, no matter how much it weakens. This is a life threatening storm to people here,"
Bloomberg said.

Irene's approach stirred painful memories of Hurricane Katrina, which smashed into the southern Gulf Coast in 2005, stranding thousands of people in New Orleans and overwhelming poorly prepared local and federal authorities.

Hurricanes are rare in the northeastern United States -- the last major hurricane to hit New York was Gloria in 1985 -- but this time authorities say they are ready.

The US military said up to 101,000 National Guard soldiers were available if needed and designated military bases in three states as staging areas. (AFP)
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GMT - 11 Hours Re: Weakened Hurricane Irene blasts New York

Post by =**Fairy** = on Sat Sep 10, 2011 2:35 pm

keep it up, nice sharing[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
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