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Irene Starts Bashing East Coast

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene is here.

She hasn’t quite yet made official landfall, but one of the largest and potentially most damaging storms to hit the East Coast of the United States in decades is beginning to pound North Carolina and Virginia as she continues to slowly head north on a track that’s expected to take Irene right over New York City later this weekend.

And though the National Hurricane Center this morning said Irene had weakened from a Category 2 hurricane (maximum winds of 96-110 mph) to a Category 1 (74-95 mph) and “lost some organization,” the strong winds, torrential rains and potential storm surges of water in low-lying areas still make it a highly dangerous storm, authorities said.

“The hazards are still the same,” NHC hurricane specialist Mike Brennan says. “The emphasis for this storm is on its size and duration, not necessarily how strong the strongest winds are.”

On the NPR Newscast earlier, Brennan added that some mid-Atlantic states’ coastal areas are going to experience hurricane conditions for several hours and tropical storm conditions for 24 hours.

Here’s how big Irene is: According to NHC, “hurricane force winds extend outward up to 90 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 260 miles.”

Power outages are already being reported in North Carolina. More than 2 million people along the coast, including 250,000 in New York City, have been ordered to move away from the coast.

We’ve been following the news about Irene all week and will continue to do that through the weekend. We’ll keep this post updated with latest developments and file other posts with related news. [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]

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