At least 10 have died in three states due to the storm. Unprecedented evacuation operation of 370,000 people in New York.
NEW YORK – After slamming into the East Coast and knocking out power to about 3 million people, Hurricane Irene took aim at the biggest cities in the Northeast, the CNN informs.
Officials have blamed at least 10 deaths on Irene. Five people died as a result of the storm in North Carolina, and three were killed in Virginia due to falling trees, emergency officials said. A 55-year-old male surfer died around noon in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, and a woman in Queenstown, Maryland, died after a tree knocked a chimney through the roof of her home, officials said.
Irene pummeled Ocean City, Maryland, early Sunday while en route to New York City, threatening to flood parts of Manhattan and bring the bustling city to a virtual standstill.
By early Sunday, Irene was about 15 miles south-southeast of Atlantic City, New Jersey, and about 115 miles south-southwest of New York City early Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Center. It was moving north-northeast at 18 mph and carried maximum sustained winds of 75 mph. Powerful gusts were so strong that pedestrians struggled to stay upright. Storm surges along the East Coast turned at least one beach into an extension of the ocean. A nuclear power reactor in Calvert Cliffs, Maryland, automatically went offline late Saturday after a piece of aluminum siding from a building struck a transformer amid strong winds. “The facility is safe; there is no impact to employees or our neighbors,” said Mark Sullivan, spokesman for the Constellation Energy Nuclear Group. “There is no threat.”
The storm ripped off roofs, toppled trees, induced “massive flooding” near the coast and brought down power lines statewide, according to the state emergency management division.
Reports of tornadoes came from several states, including North Carolina and Virginia – but a final determination will have to be made by the National Weather Service. Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and New Jersey have suspended all transit service, with no subway and bus service on Sunday. And the Philadelphia International Airport will remain closed until at least 4 p.m. Sunday, airport spokeswoman Victoria Lupica said.
In New York – where the city ordered the unprecedented evacuation of 370,000 people from low-lying areas on Friday – even residents who aren’t being ordered to leave could face an arduous few days following Irene’s tour of the city. New York’s transit system might not be fully running again until at least Monday, high-rise buildings are being instructed to turn off elevators and utility ConEd may have to cut power to Manhattan, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
“This is a storm where, if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, it can be fatal,” he warned.