New Yorkers brace themselves as Irene hits town
The city is bracing itself for what could be the worst storm to hit the city in a generation. Hurricane Irene has already caused severe damage in Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia and spawned tornados in the area, leaving up to two million people without electricity.
Eastern North Carolina received 10 inches (25 cm) to 14 inches (35 cm) of rain, according to the National Weather Service.
To those who decided to ignore the evacuation order, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg said that “their safety is now in their own hands” and they should get inside and remain indoors until further notice.
Bloomberg has urged New Yorkers to stay away from windows, because the winds are going to pick up speed. He also warned that electrical power may be shut down in certain parts of the city if those areas get flooded.
RT’s Marina Portnaya says that the city looks extremely eerie as tropical winds begin to blow into the city. Most local businesses have either boarded up their windows or covered them with tape.
The city’s public transportation system is expected to remain shut throughout Sunday.
City authorities are adopting a wait-and-see approach, but most New Yorkers are preparing for the worst, while hanging on to the hope that the Irene will show some mercy to their threatened city.
The National Hurricane Center has downgraded Irene from category two to category one, but with wind speed of up to 90 miles per hour it still remains a serious threat.
The deaths blamed on Irene include two children. An 11-year-old boy in Virginia was killed when a tree crashed through the roof of his home and a North Carolina child died in a car crash at an intersection where traffic lights were out.
In addition, a North Carolina man was killed by a flying tree, a passenger died when a tree fell on a car in Virginia, and a surfer and another beachgoer in Florida were killed in heavy waves.