New York City Under Hurricane Warning, as Irene Approaches

Posted August 26th, 2011 at 6:05 pm (UTC-5)
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A hurricane warning has been issued for New York City, as the U. S. Northeast braces for what President Barack Obama is calling “an extremely dangerous and costly” storm forecasters say could cause widespread flooding, power outages and billions of dollars in damage.

An estimated 65 million Americans live in Hurricane Irene's projected path — many of whom have been evacuated.

Mr. Obama said Friday that all indications point to Irene being a “historic” storm. He said the nation has to be “prepared for the worst.”

Irene is expected to make landfall in North Carolina on Saturday. Currently a Category Two storm on a five-point scale of intensity, Irene is expected to have an effect well inland — both from winds and flooding. The National Hurricane Center says the storm is now carrying maximum sustained winds of 175 kilometers an hour and is expected to strengthen.

The governors of seven states — stretching from North Carolina to Connecticut — have declared states of emergency.

President Obama is cutting short his vacation in Massachusetts to return to Washington. He has directed agencies to ensure all the needed resources are available.

Airlines have already canceled hundreds of flights, and train services in parts of the eastern region have been suspended.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Friday that federal and local authorities are taking the storm “very seriously.” She said President Obama has directed agencies to ensure all the needed resources are available.

The threat of the hurricane also led organizers in Washington to postpone Saturday's dedication of a memorial to civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr to Sunday.

Irene is the first hurricane to seriously threaten the United States in three years. It has already killed at least one person in Puerto Rico and two in the Dominican Republic, and also destroyed homes in The Bahamas.