US East Coast Prepares
for Hurricane Irene
August 26, 2011
Millions of people along the U.S. East Coast are scrambling to prepare
for a powerful hurricane that authorities fear will cause widespread
flooding and power outages.
satellite image of Hurricane Irene, August 26, 2011
The governors of North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New
Jersey and New York have declared states of emergency to free up
resources ahead of Hurricane Irene, which is expected to make landfall
in North Carolina on Saturday.
President Barack Obama also declared a state of emergency for North
Carolina and made a statement about the hurricane.
The National Hurricane Center says Irene has slightly weakened, with
maximum sustained winds of 175 kilometers an hour, but it remains a
dangerous Category 2 storm on a five-point scale of storm intensity.
Forecasters expect it to strengthen as it nears North Carolina.
In the U.S., hurricane watches and warnings have been issued for much of
the East Coast, and authorities in some areas have already evacuated
residents and tourists.
On its current path, the storm is forecast to affect New York City,
where officials have hospitals and nursing homes in low-lying areas to
the nation's capital, the threat of Hurricane Irene led organizers to
postpone Sunday's dedication of a memorial to civil rights leader Martin
Luther King, Jr.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency says Irene will have an effect
well inland, both from winds and flooding.
The National Hurricane Center says the storm is expected to produce
rainfall accumulations between 15 and 25 centimeters. Some parts of the
U.S. mid-Atlantic and New England regions are already saturated from
recent heavy rains.
Irene, the first hurricane to seriously threaten the United States in
three years, at least one person in Puerto Rico and two in the Dominican
Republic. It also destroyed homes in the Bahamas.