Seven states along USA’s eastern coast ranging from North Carolina to Connecticut have declared rather serious emergencies upon the looming arrival of hurricane Irene.
There have been mandatory evacuations launched in certain regions of four of the individual states.
Luckily, the storm has lost a bit of it’s umph as it’s strength has dropped slightly down from a category 3 storm (just as Katrina was) to a mere cat 2.
The ravaging typhoon has already taken its toll on the islands of the Caribbean and is next expected to blow through North Carolina by Saturday as it moves up through D.C. onto New York the following day.
The US National Hurricane Center announced that at 14:00 EDT on Friday (18:00 GMT), the storm was closing in as it had been only 300 miles south-south-west of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
While he had been on holiday at an island on Massachusetts’s coast called Martha’s vineyard, President Obama released a statement saying:
“I cannot stress this highly enough: if you are in the projected path of this hurricane, you have to take precautions now.
“Don’t wait, don’t delay. We all hope for the best, but we have to be prepared for the worst. All of us have to take this storm seriously.”
He added: “All indications point to this being a historic hurricane.”
It was announced that Washington would be returning from his vacation a day early in order to lead the White House’s response to the storm.
Irene could prove to have devastating effects as it will be sweeping through highly populated eastern cities such as Baltimore, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New York, and Boston included.
“We’re going to have damages, we just don’t know how bad,” Craig Fugate, head of the US Federal Emergency Management Agency, told the Associated Press news agency.
“This is one of the largest populations that will be impacted by one storm at one time.”
If Irene is to strike the eastern coast as expected at a cat 2, it will be the most catastrophic storm since Hurricane Bob in 1991 which blasted Massachusetts.
Irene prove itself as a formidable feat as it extends 90 miles from the center and has winds that reach a staggering 290 miles from the eye.
American Red Cross has stated that they are preparing dozens of emergency shelters for those stranded in the storm’s path along the east coast.
North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut have all been declared to be in a state of emergency.
Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina and the nation’s largest city, New York have been ordered to emergency evacuations.
Obama had originally been scheduled to attend a new memorial be dedicated to the murdered iconic civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr for Sunday. As it stands, the memorial has been postponed until further notice. The wait is expected to be pushed back into at least September.
Additionally, “widespread power outages” have also been perceived.
America’s passenger rail service Amtrak has announced that train transportation to anywhere south of DC on the east coast has been temporarily terminated. A disruption in flights to eastern regions is expected as well.
The winds of the relentless storm have reportedly already begun to buffet the state of North Carolina. Over 200,000 are fleeing the fearsome whirlwind while other residents buckle down and stock up on supplies with hopes to brace the rocky weather.
The Second Fleet that had been at the Norfolk Naval Station in Virginia has been ordered to sea in order to avoid damage taken to the vessels by the US Navy.
Warnings of violent waves and other isolated storms have been issued. The waters are expected to be rampant all the way up the east coast stretching to Maryland’s Eastern shore.
the US Navy has ordered its Second Fleet to leave Norfolk Naval Station in Virginia to head out to sea to avert damage to the vessels in port.