Last night, awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Irene, New York City and Long Island residents rushed to stock up on batteries and flashlights, take in patio furniture, board up windows and for thousands, evacuate.
At around 9 p.m. Saturday, Irene’s outer bands had just touched Long Island and the National Weather Service warned of possible tornados– According to CNN, tornados have been reported in both Virginia and North Carolina. By around 5:00 a.m. Hurricane Irene began closing in on the New York area, slowly moving passed Cape May, New Jersey and bringing with it, torrential rain and powerful winds causing power outages and flooding throughout the area.
Not many are welcoming her arrival, thousands are waiting out the storm at one of the dozens of evacuation centers throughout Long Island and Manhattan. Already one death on Long Island due to the hurricane has been reported with a total of ten reported dead in other states as the hurricane battered the East Coast making its way to New York. LIPA is reporting an estimated 100,000 have lost power due to Irene–Irene has already reportedly left almost two million without power in North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey on its way up the coast.
The massive hurricane– almost 500 miles– remained a Category 1 hurricane as it crept into the area early Sunday . According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm was 115 miles south-southwest of New York and was moving north-northeast at 18 mph with maximum sustained winds of 75-mph.
Last night, in anticipation of Irene, Gov. Andrew Cuomo along with local officials including Suffolk County Executive, Steve Levy urged residents to take cover and also added over 1,000 National Guards members to the surrounding area.
Saturday, LIPA announced that electric service has been shut down to Fire Island, Captree Island, Robert Moses, and Oak Island with the mandatory evacuations. The LIRR shut down yesterday, along with the first-ever MTA ordered shutdown of the transit system.
“After the storm, it will take time to restore service following an assessment of Hurricane Irene’s impact on critical infrastructure,” read a statement on the MTA’s website.” We urge customers to monitor media reports for the latest information.”
Flights were cancelled as well. An estimated 9,000 flights were cancelled due to the storm.
According to the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Centre, the center of Irene will move over southern New England on Sunday and move into eastern Canada Sunday night with maximum sustained winds remain near 80 mph with higher gusts. Irene is forecast to remain a hurricane as it moves near over the Mid-Atlantic coast and as it approaches New England. The hurricane is forecast to pick up forward speed in the next day.