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Photos: Hurricane Irene

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  1. A house destroyed by Irene sits in a river in Rochester, Vt., on Wednesday, Aug. 31. Homeowner Jon Graham, right, removes items from the home with the help of friends. (Vyto Starinskas / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Rescue crews in Paterson, N.J., patrol the intersection of Memorial Drive and Governor Road as the swollen Passaic River floods on Aug. 31. (Rich Schultz / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Floodwaters from the Passaic River fill streets in Paterson, N.J., on Aug. 31. (Brendan Mcdermid / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. A volunteer removes mud and debris from a real estate office on Aug. 31 in Wilmington, Vt. The nearby Deerfield River overflowed its banks Sunday, inundating homes and businesses in the downtown area. (Matthew Cavanaugh / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. A woman looks out over a flooded street on Aug. 31 in Wallington, N.J. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Henry Rhines tries to salvage anything he can from the debris field that was once his home in Columbia, N.C., on Aug. 30. Several houses along U.S. 64 south of Columbia were destroyed when a tornado touched down before Hurricane Irene's wind and rain. Rhines wasn't home at the time, evacuating to Rocky Mount earlier in the day. "That tornado put a hurting on us right on down the line," he said. (Shawn Rocco / The News & Observer via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Flooding in Rochester, Vt., eroded part of the town's cemetery, seen here on Aug. 30, exposing some coffins. (Toby Talbot / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Residents of Totowa, N.J., are evacuated from their flooded homes on Aug. 30. (Lucas Jackson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Corrinne Levin kisses her daughter Jillianne Davis, whose home in Woodford, Vt., was destroyed by floodwaters. They were outside Davis' home on Aug. 30. (Matt Rourke / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Keith Beavers examines his tobacco crop following Hurricane Irene in Mount Olive, N.C., on Aug. 30. Far from the beach towns that took Hurricane Irene's first hit, the storm inflicted some of its worst damage on inland farms from North Carolina to New York as crops were pummeled by wind, scalded by salt spray and submerged by floodwaters. Some farmers, like Beavers, are reporting total losses. (Jim R. Bounds / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Jude Fitzgerald salvages items from a mud-filled basement in Brattleboro, Vt., on Aug. 30. (Jessica Hill / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. A bridge on Route 73 in Rochester, Vt., lies in the river on Aug. 30, cutting off road access to the town. (Toby Talbot / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. A man looks out at a closed and damaged beach on Aug. 30 in Westport, Conn. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Standing on a neighbor's porch in Stumpy Point, N.C., Darnel and Debbie Talbert lean on each other as Nationwide insurance agent Paul Tine checks on their policy on Aug. 30. The Talbert's house was heavily damaged by Hurricane Irene. (Shawn Rocco / The News & Observer via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Irene-triggered floodwaters remain several feet deep in Wayne, N.J., on Aug. 30. New Jersey and Vermont continue to struggle with their worst flooding in decades. (Lucas Jackson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Residents wait in line outside a grocery store on Aug. 30 in Rochester, Vt. The town has been completely cut off since Irene hit. (Toby Talbot / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. This section of Highway 23 in Wayne, N.J., remains flooded on Aug. 30. (Lucas Jackson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Greg Austin of Avon, N.C., on Aug. 29 tries to save a large fish that was washed out of a local pond during the storm surge from Hurricane Irene. Avon is one of the Hatteras Island communities cut off due to breaches in N.C. Highway 12. (Chuck Liddy / The News & Observer via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Flooding over a road from the Farmington River is seen in the aftermath of Irene in Simsbury, Conn., on Aug. 29. (Jessica Hill / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Tom Chase waves atop of his friend's beach home in East Haven, Conn., on Aug. 29. (Jessica Hill / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Firefighters from the Skyline Lakes Fire Department try to extinguish a fire fed by a natural gas line, which ruptured causing the house to explode, after the Pompton River overflowed its banks during a record flood, in Pompton Lake, N.J., on Aug. 29. (Chip East / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. This section of Route 7 south of Rutland, Vt., was washed out on Aug. 29. (Vyto Starinskas / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Gino Borova gives a ride to his neighbor, Tom Soboleski, as they make their way through floodwaters after surveying their homes in Pompton Lakes, N.J., on Aug. 29. The Ramapo River flooded the area. (Julio Cortez / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Strafford, Conn., saw storm damage from Irene, on Aug. 29. (Jessica Hill / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Nan Raphael looks at damage to her block on Aug. 29 in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington D.C. (Jacquelyn Martin / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Route 5 between Scotia to Schenectady, N.Y., is overrun by flood waters from the Mohawk River on Aug. 29. (Str / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. The top layer of blacktop on River Road lies peeled off due to AuSable River flooding in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Aug. 29. (Mike Lynch / Adirondack Daily Enterprise via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Nina Brennan, right, and Phyllis Berry clean mud from the Proud Flower store in Waterbury, Vt., on Aug. 29. (Toby Talbot / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Long Beach Lifeguard Patrol members clean rescue boards along the boardwalk at Long Beach, N.Y., on Aug. 29. (Craig Ruttle / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. Stranded travelers rest at LaGuardia Airport in New York on Aug. 29. The couple lying down is scheduled to take a flight to Dallas on Aug. 30. New York-area airports reopened on Aug. 29 as airlines gradually restored service after canceling more than 11,000 flights. (Don Emmert / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. Residents walk along Highway 12, the main road that connects Cape Hatteras National Seashore to the main land which was destroyed by Hurricane Irene in Rodanthe, N.C., on Aug. 28. (Jose Luis Magana / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. An unidentified male hangs on to a branch in a rain swollen creek as he waits for rescuers in New City, N.Y., on Aug. 28. He and three others went tubing in the creek and had to be rescued by New City and Stony Point fire departments' water rescue teams. (Peter Carr / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. Firefighters put out a fire at a rental house on Aug. 28 after it was destroyed by Irene at Cape Hatteras National Seashore in Rodanthe, N.C. (Jose Luis Magana / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. The raging Whetstone Brook surges over the falls in downtown Brattleboro, Vt., on Aug. 28. (Chris Bertelsen / The Brattleboro Reformer via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. A motorboat passes a submerged pickup truck on Main Street in Washingtonville, N.Y., on Aug. 28, following heavy rains from Irene. (Paul Kazdan / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. A Fairfield Beach Road home is submerged in Pine Creek in Fairfield, Conn., as treacherous weather caused by Irene came through the area on Aug. 28. (Cathy Zuraw / The Connecticut Post via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. Billy Stinson, left, comforts his daughter, Erin Stinson, as they sit on the steps where their cottage once stood before it was destroyed by Hurricane Irene in Nags Head, N.C., on Aug. 28. The cottage, built in 1903, was one of the first vacation cottages built on Albemarle Sound in Nags Head. Stinson has owned the home, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, since 1963. "We were pretending, just for a moment, that the cottage was still behind us and we were just sitting there watching the sunset," said Erin afterward. (Scott Olson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. Bravo Company 1st of 120 out of Whiteville ride through rural Goose Creek Island handing out bags of ice on Aug. 28, in Lowland, N.C. Hurricane Irene made landfall in North Carolina, creating a storm surge of up to 8 feet in some areas of the Pamilco Sound. (Sara D. Davis / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. With the skyline of New York in the background, people fly a kite at the Erie-Lackawanna Park along Hudson River after the pass of Irene in Hoboken, N.J., on Aug 28. (Eduardo Munoz / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. A car sits submerged on Main Street in Hightstown, N.J., on Aug. 28, after Peddie Lake overflowed from Irene. Businesses and shops along the street were flooded. (Jim Gerberich / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. Crews from the New York Department of Environmental Protection work to unplug storm sewer grates on the Van Wyck Expressway under the Grand Central Parkway overpass in the Queens neighborhood of New York on Aug. 28. Widespread flooding of interstates and low-lying areas kept crews busy overnight and throughout the day. (Jonathan D. Woods / msnbc.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. Officials survey the damage to Route 12 on Hatteras Island, N.C., on Aug. 28. Hurricane Irene swept through the area Saturday, Aug. 27, cutting the roadway in five locations. (Steve Helber / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  43. A family inspects a downed tree in New York's Central Park after Irene dumped more than 6 inches of rain on Aug. 28. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  44. Ken Smith clears the street in front of his family's house after Irene hit the Rockaway beach section of Queens, N.Y., on Aug. 28. (Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  45. Mark Wade trips while surfing with his friend Craig Busick, left, in a large puddle in front of the Board of Education in Centreville, Md., on Aug. 28, after Irene. (Jim Watson / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  46. Danica Quinn, 9, and her dog Scruffy, stand in her front yard on C Street in Bridgeton, N.C., on Aug. 28. Quinn and her family were in their home during Hurricane Irene when winds toppled a pine tree that crashed through the roof of their living room. No one was hurt, though the house was destroyed. (Byron Holland / New Bern Sun Journal via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  47. Lechelle Spalding pulls a boat up to her flooded home after a storm surge on the Outer Banks in Kitty Hawk, N.C., on Aug. 28. (Charles Dharapak / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  48. Annie Gullett, right, gets help from her daughter Katy Caroline, center, and friend Louise Sanderlin sorting through damaged items in her gift shop after it was flooded in the wake of Hurricane Irene on Aug. 28 in Manteo, N.C. (Scott Olson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  49. Darrell Tarte, a property estimator with Erie Insurance, surveys damage from a tree at a home in Port Republic, Md., on Aug. 28. (Steve Ruark / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  50. Two Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority trains sit in water on flooded tracks on Aug. 28 in Trenton, N.J. Rains from Irene caused inland flooding of rivers and streams. (Mel Evans / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  51. Rainwater collects beneath machinery at the World Trade Center site on Aug. 28 in New York. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  52. High winds from Irene knocked down five large trees in front of the East River Cooperative Village apartment buildings along Grand Avenue on Aug. 28 in New York City. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  53. Waves and storm surge pound the boardwalk and the beach at first light as Irene slams into Asbury Park, N.J., on Aug. 28. (Chip East / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  54. Brian Grant, left, and Bob Bianchini, engineers from the public works department out for a safety inspection, are slammed by waves and storm surge pounding the boardwalk and the beach at Asbury Park, N.J., on Aug. 28. (Chip East / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  55. Sand covers the boardwalk after Irene passed through in Ocean City, Md., on Aug. 28. (Molly Riley / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  56. Chris Swimm retrieves planks from a friend's deck washed away by waves from Irene that surged onto Wilbur's Point in Fairhaven, Mass., on Aug. 28. (Peter Pereira / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  57. Waves kicked up by Irene crash into homes on Wilbur's Point in Fairhaven, Mass., on Aug. 28. (Peter Pereira / The Standard Times via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  58. Josh Holloway, son of homeowner Jack Holloway, stands near the front door as family members look over the damage to their home in Lewis, Del., on Aug. 28. (Suchat Pederson / The News Journal via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  59. Hurricane Irene's wind and rain pour down as North Cove Marina employees work to secure gangways, docks and boats as seawater comes over the marina's low walls just before high tide in the World Financial Center Plaza on Aug. 28 in New York City. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  60. Pat Valent helps friends clear out belongings from their storm-damaged beach home in the Sandbridge area of Virginia Beach, Va. on Aug. 28. Irene caused damage over such a broad area that the total damage is not yet known. (Steve Helber / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  61. A woman walks by downed trees in Brooklyn during heavy rain and winds from Hurricane Irene on Aug. 28 in New York City. While Hurricane Irene has now been downgraded to a tropical storm, it has knocked out power to more than 3 million people. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  62. A lighthouse-shaped building is battered by storm surge and winds from Hurricane Irene in Montauk, New York on Aug. 28. (Lucas Jackson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  63. A man walks on a flooded street in Hoboken, N.J. on Aug. 28. (Kena Betancur / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  64. Jeremy Wilkins of the Kitty Hawk Fire Department removes a tree that was downed by Hurricane Irene on the Outer Banks in Kitty Hawk, N.C., on Aug. 28, (Charles Dharapak / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  65. Rising water laps over the sea wall at Battery Park in New York City on Aug. 28. Hurricane Irene bore down on a dark and quiet New York early Sunday, bringing winds and rapidly rising seawater that threatened parts of the city. (Mary Altaffer / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  66. A bull dozer clears sand and debris from Hwy. 12 near Avon, N.C. on Aug. 28. High winds from hurricane Irene and overnight flooding affected much of the Outer Banks. (Steve Early / The Virginia-Pilot via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  67. The Coney Island boardwalk in New York is obscured by sand and rain as Hurricane Irene reached the area on Aug. 28. Rainfall overflowed sewers and seawater lapped at sidewalks at the edges of New York City from densely populated lower Manhattan to the far reaches of Queens as a weakening Irene made landfall over Coney Island. (Craig Ruttle / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  68. A street signs rest in a Baltimore, Md. street, Aug. 28, after falling over during Hurricane Irene. The storm caused some power outages but no significant damage or flooding throughout the Baltimore region. (Patrick Smith / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  69. Manhattan is hit by Hurricane Irene on Sunday, Aug. 28. The hurricane hit New York City’s skyscrapers with fierce winds and threatened to flood the financial district after killing ten people along the East coast on Saturday. (Emmanuel Dunand / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  70. IKONOS satellite images show before, Dec. 27, 2010, and after, Aug. 28, 2011, views of an area north of Rodanthe, North Carolina following Hurricane Irene. The after view shows broken sections of Highway 12 caused by the hurricane. (Geoeye / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  71. Heavy rain falls in Battery Park in New York City as Hurricane Irene hits Manhattan on Aug. 28. Battery Park and other areas in Lower Manhattan were evacuated in advance of the storm. (Jason Decrow / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  72. People walk in Times Square in New York on Aug. 28, as Hurricane Irene hits the city and Tri State area with rain and high winds. (Timothy A. Clary / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  73. A gas station is damaged on Aug. 28 after Hurricane Irene swept through Lusby, Md. (Steve Ruark / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  74. Waves crash onto a road as Hurricane Irene arrives, Aug. 28, in Southampton, New York. Irene is expected to move through the area today with heavy rain and high winds. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  75. Floodwater surrounds a home as Hurricane Irene arrives on Aug. 28 in Southampton, New York. Irene is expected to move through the area today with heavy rain and high winds. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  76. Branches litter an alley in Virginia Beach, VA on Sunday, Aug. 28. The hurricane made landfall in North Carolina and Virginia early Saturday morning and has now moved further up the East coast to New Jersey and New York later today. (Brendan Hoffman / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  77. A man walks past a damaged store front on a boardwalk in Ocean City, Md., on Aug. 28. Authorities in Ocean City said that there were no reports of major damage. (Patrick Semansky / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  78. The sun rises over the Atlantic Ocean in Virginia Beach, Va. on Aug. 28. Hurricane Irene made landfall in North Carolina and Virginia early Saturday morning and has now moved further up the East coast. (Brendan Hoffman / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  79. Large waves from Hurricane Irene pound the Ocean City pier on Aug. 28 in Ocean City, Md. During the night Hurricane Irene past by the small resort town causing power outages, minimal flood and wind damage. (Mark Wilson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  80. Two men explore a street flooded by Hurricane Irene on Aug. 27 in Manteo, N.C. (John Bazemore / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  81. This road in Virginia Beach, Va., flooded on Aug. 27. (Steve Helber / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  82. A water rescue team maneuvers around a beached boat in the middle of Hwy. 304 in Mesic, N.C., on Aug. 27. (Chris Seward / The News & Observer via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  83. Floodwaters surround homes on Hwy 304 in Mesic, N.C., on Aug. 27. (Chris Seward / The News & Observer via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  84. Jackie Sparnackel has to abandon her van and her belongings after she ventured to check out the storm-damaged pier in Frisco, N.C., on Aug. 27. (Chuck Liddy / The News & Observer via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  85. Firefighters work to remove the body of an 11-year-old killed when a tree fell and severely damaged this home in Newport News, Va., on Aug. 27. (Rob Ostermaier / Newport News Daily Press / MCT via Zuma Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  86. The hurricane-force winds of Irene rip the siding off of homes in Nags Head, N.C., on Aug. 27. (Stephen M. Katz / The Virginian-Pilot via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  87. Jarod Wilton looks at the floodwaters rising to his doorstep on Aug. 27, in Alliance, N.C., as Hurricane Irene hits the coast. (Chuck Burton / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  88. Kelly Harvey, who evacuated her St. Leonard, Md., home, plays with her daughter on Aug. 27 at a hurricane shelter set up at Southern Middle School in Lusby, Md. (Steve Ruark / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  89. Lounge chairs are stored in a pool in Ocean City, Md., on Aug. 27 in order to keep them from blowing away. (Molly Riley / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  90. Two men push a cart through an otherwise deserted Grand Central Terminal in New York on Aug. 27. Metro North has suspended service and Amtrak is running on a reduced schedule due to Hurricane Irene. (Marjorie Anders / NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  91. Sandbags are stacked outside a Manhattan financial district building on Aug. 27 in New York. (John Minchillo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  92. The Berkeley Mall in Goldsboro, N.C., saw a roof collapse in its atrium section on Aug. 27. (Michael K. Dakota / The Goldsboro News-Argus via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  93. The victim of a fatal car accident near Interstate 795 in Goldsboro, N.C., is recovered by crews on Aug. 27. The two-car accident occurred at an intersection where traffic signals were not working due to a power outage caused by Irene. (Robert Willett / The News & Observer via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  94. People shield themselves from blowing sand and rain as they look over the beach during Hurricane Irene on Aug. 27 in Kill Devil Hills, N.C. (Scott Olson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  95. Damaged power lines burn in Nags Head, N.C., on Aug. 27, as Hurricane Irene hits the northern Outer Banks of North Carolina. (Nicholas Kamm / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  96. Cody Levy, left, Ian Crossman, and Christian Van Vliet run out onto a receded Albemarle Sound in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., on Aug. 27. The sound had moved out due to the high winds of Hurricane Irene. (Shawn Rocco / Zuma Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  97. Vehicles are driven through a flooded area during Hurricane Irene in Surf City, N.C., on Aug. 27. (Randall Hill / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  98. People hurry in the rain on the boardwalk as Hurricane Irene bears down on Cape May, N.J., on Aug. 27. (Mel Evans / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  99. Turnstiles are barricaded with caution tape shortly before the New York City Subway system suspended service for the first time ever, as preparations are made for Hurricane Irene, in New York, on Aug. 27. (Mike Groll / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  100. A worker places plywood on the windows of a home as he and other workers secure it against the winds of Hurricane Irene on Aug. 27, in Water Mill, N.Y. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  101. One of two people rescued from a sailboat uses a line to make their way onto the beach on Willoughby Spit in Norfolk, Va., on Aug. 27. The two were rescued from the boat that foundered in the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. A rescuer, left, waits for s second person to exit the boat. (Bill Tiernan / The Virginian-Pilot via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  102. An onlooker takes a photo of a fallen gas canopy hit by Hurricane Irene, at the Atlantic Food Mart in Surf City, N.C., on Aug. 27. (Randall Hill / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  103. A man fills sand bags at 128th Street beach in the Rockaways, N.Y., on Aug. 27, in preparation for Hurricane Irene. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  104. Police walk through an area which is under mandatory evacuation orders in the Rockaways, N.Y., on Aug. 27, in preparation for Hurricane Irene. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  105. Arseni Flax, center, and his mother Nelly wait for their subway train to leave as they bring along their parakeets while evacuating the Coney Island section of New York, on Aug. 27. (Craig Ruttle / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  106. Margene Jezo of Kitty Hawk goes for a 6-mile jog as Hurricane Irene lashes the Outer Banks in Kitty Hawk, N.C, on Aug. 27. (Jim Lo Scalzo / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  107. Don Hurtig looks at an oak tree that blew over in his front yard as Hurricane Irene comes ashore near Morehead City, N.C., on Aug. 27. (Steve Nesius / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  108. Defying mandatory evacuation orders and a curfew, summer residents Pam Cooke, left, and Jody Bowers share a laugh as strong winds puff up Jody's jacket as they venture out to the beach in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., on Aug. 27. (Charles Dharapak / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  109. People shop at a Hurricane Irene fashion sale in the town of Amagansett, N.Y. on the east end of Long Island, on Aug. 27. (Peter Foley / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  110. Lifeguard Steve Thompson patrols the beach on Aug. 27, in Montauk, N.Y., as Hurricane Irene approaches. (Stephen Chernin / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  111. The sun breaks through as surfers hit the ocean on Aug. 27, off of Pawleys Island, S.C. after Hurricane Irene moved through the area and north along the eastern Atlantic coast. (Steve Jessmore / The Sun-News via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  112. Water in a parking lot enters a storm drain as winds and high tides from approaching Hurricane Irene start to hit the area, on Aug. 27, in Ocean City, Md. (Mark Wilson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  113. Debbie Austin gets off her boat as winds and high tides from approaching Hurricane Irene start to hit the area, on Aug. 27, in Ocean City, Md. (Mark Wilson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  114. Personnel at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, including NHC director Bill Read, center bottom, conduct a conference call to coordinate the 11 a.m. ET forecast for Hurricane Irene, on Aug. 27. (Andy Newman / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  115. Abandoned beachfront houses are surrounded by rising water from Hurricane Irene in Nags Head, N.C., on Aug. 27. (Gerry Broome / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  116. A pedestrian crosses an open area as Hurricane Irene passes through Wrightsville Beach, N.C., on Aug. 27. (Randall Hill / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  117. Roman Alvarez, left, and Bob Alvarez use plywood to secure a business against the winds of Hurricane Irene on Aug. 27, in Southhampton, N.Y. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  118. Rhiannon Shaw, 9, tries to stay warm while checking out the beach with friends as Hurricane Irene passes through Wrightsville Beach, N.C., on Aug. 27. (Randall Hill / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  119. Waves crash into Avalon Pier as Hurricane Irene strikes the Outer Banks in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., on Aug. 27. (Jim Lo Scalzo / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  120. Pawleys Island police closed the North Causeway to Pawleys Island as the marshes filled with water at high tide, forming white caps and began crossing the road on Aug. 26 in Pawleys Island, S.C. (Steve Jessmore / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  121. Milk refrigerators sit almost empty at a Target store as New Yorkers stock up on supplies in preparation for Hurricane Irene in Queens, New York on Aug. 26. (Andrew Gombert / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  122. Traffic backs up at The Washout at Folly Beach as people come out to watch the waves created by Hurricane Irene and cheer on the few surfers that came out on Aug. 26 in Folly Beach, S.C. (Sarah Bates / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  123. Boaters brave the waves and wind caused by Hurricane Irene at the Morris Island light house on Aug. 26 in Folly Beach, S.C. (Sarah Bates / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  124. People crowd a Whole Foods store in Manhattan before the arrival of Hurricane Irene in New York City on Aug. 26. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  125. Heading out before Hurricane Irene arrives, people line up on Aug. 26, for a ferry leaving the island of Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. (Cj Gunther / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  126. People crowd an outdoor supply store in New York City on Aug. 26. The store had already sold out of batteries and flashlights. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  127. Cars pack the westbound lanes of the Atlantic City Expressway on Aug. 26, as thousands of people evacuate the barrier islands along the southern New Jersey coastline ahead of Hurricane Irene. (Tom Mihalek / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  128. An 83-year-old gets help finding a taxi in New York City on Aug. 26 after she and some 400 others were discharged or moved from a hospital in a low-lying area due to Irene. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  129. Travellers wait in line for Metro North tickets at New York's Grand Central Station on Aug. 26. (Brendan Mcdermid / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  130. Beachgoers walk against the wind as Hurricane Irene begins to pound Atlantic Beach, N.C., on Aug. 26. (Steve Nesius / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  131. A worker boards up a "Ripleys Believe it or Not!" located on the boardwalk in Ocean City, Md., on Aug. 26. (Mark Wilson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  132. Nursing home residents are evacuated in Barco, N.C., on Aug. 26. (Jim R. Bounds / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  133. Traffic northbound on Garden State Parkway near Ocean View, N.J., was backed up on Aug. 26. (Mel Evans / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  134. A shopper passes by empty shelves while looking for bottled water at a store at Rockaway Beach in New York on Aug. 26. (Allison Joyce / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  135. Ambulances wait to transfer patients out of Coney Island Hospital as evacuations began in low-lying parts of New York on Aug. 26. (Timothy A. Clary / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  136. A surfboard provides protection from wind gusts of 50 mph on Folly Beach, S.C., on Aug. 26. (Richard Ellis / Getty Images Contributor) Back to slideshow navigation
  137. Customers stand in line outside a Home Depot in Springfield, N.J., on Aug. 26. More than 50 people put their names on a wait list for a rumored shipment of generators. (John Makely / msnbc.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  138. A lifeguard stand is removed along a beach in Atlantic City, N.J., on Aug. 25, ahead of Hurricane Irene. (Danny Drake / The Press of Atlantic City via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  139. A message is left for Hurricane Irene on one house, as a resident boards up another on Aug. 25 in Nags Head, N.C. (Charles Dharapak / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  140. A high hazard warning flag for dangerous rip currents is raised on Aug. 25 at Tybee Island, Ga. (Stephen Morton / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  141. Ismael Ramirez, right, fastens a plywood board to a house an Ortley Beach, N.J., while his brother Jorge Ramirez measures the next board. The handymen are boarding up the house for a New Jersey Shore resident in preparation for Hurricane Irene on Aug. 25. Gov. Chris Christie asked New Jersey shore visitors to get out by midday Friday because the hurricane is poised to be a "serious, significant event" with possible flooding across the entire state. (Julio Cortez / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  142. Cory Ritz braces himself as a wave bursts onto a pier on Aug. 25 in Boynton Beach, Fla. Irene caused high surf along the Florida coast. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  143. Workers at Alligator River Growers harvest corn in Engelhard, N.C., on Aug. 25, in advance of Hurricane Irene as it threatens to make landfall in North Carolina. The storm's winds and torrential rains could mean devastating losses for those who grow corn, cotton, soybeans, tobacco and timber. (Gerry Broome / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  144. Shoppers stock up on water from rapidly emptying shelves at a grocery store in Far Rockaway in New York on Aug. 25. Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged New York City residents living in low-lying areas to line up a place to stay on high ground ahead of a possible evacuation this weekend. (Seth Wenig / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  145. Winds from Hurricane Irene whip through Nassau, Bahamas, on Aug. 25. The center of the storm stayed offshore but still downed trees and caused power outages. (Lynne Sladkybahma / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  146. Heeding the mandatory visitor evacuation, the Wyn family of Cleona, Pa., pack up at their rented beach house in Nags Head, N.C., on Aug. 25. (Charles Dharapak / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  147. Tugboats help Navy guided missile destroyers, the Jason Dunham, left, and the the Winston Churchill, leave the Norfolk Naval Station on Aug. 25. as Hurricane Irene approaches. The U.S. Navy ordered more than 60 ships out to safer waters so they could better weather the storm. (Bill Tiernan / The Virginian Pilot via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  148. Trees downed by Hurricane Irene block a road in Nassau, Bahamas, on Aug. 25. (Lynne Sladky / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  149. Residents of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, on Aug. 24 look at damage left by Irene along the Nigua River. At least three people were killed and more than 37.000 people were evacuated in the country due to the heavy rains caused by the hurricane earlier in the week. (Orlando Barría / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  150. Residents search for belongings amid debris in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, on Aug. 24. (Roberto Guzman / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image: Homeowner Jon Graham removes items from his demolished home
    Vyto Starinskas / AP
    Above: Slideshow (150) Hurricane Irene
  2. Daryl Cagle / MSNBC.com, Politicalcartoons.com
    Slideshow (11) Cartoonists poke at Irene
  3. Eric Gay / AP
    Slideshow (29) Hurricane havoc
NBC, msnbc.com and news services
updated 8/27/2011 4:44:42 AM ET 2011-08-27T08:44:42

Top developments:

  • Irene weakens to Category 1 storm early Saturday, but is still dangerous
  • Landfall expected around 9 a.m. ET at near Cape Lookout on N.C.'s Outer Banks
  • 2.5 million under evacuation orders; 550,000 are in NYC, Long Island
  • NYC, N.J., Philadelphia to suspend mass transit service during part of weekend
  • Hard rain falls on North Carolina's Outer Banks

Hurricane Irene zeroed in on land Saturday, losing some power but still threatening a catastrophic run up the East Coast as more than 2 million people were told to move to safer places to escape the massive storm.

New York City ordered America's biggest subway system shut down for the first time ever because of a natural disaster. A hurricane warning was issued for the city for the first time in two decades, and more than a quarter-million people in New York were ordered to evacuate.

The warning was in effect Friday from North Carolina in the south all the way to Massachusetts in the north. Officials declared emergencies, called up hundreds of National Guard troops, shut down public transit systems and begged hundreds of thousands of people to obey evacuation orders.

U.S. airlines were canceling at least 6,100 flights through Monday, grounding hundreds of thousands of passengers. The storm could strike major airports from Washington to Boston with heavy rain and dangerous winds.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said early Saturday Irene had weakened to a Category 1 storm with top sustained winds down to 90 mph from 100 mph overnight, but warned that it would remain a hurricane as it moves up the mid-Atlantic coast, even after losing some more strength once it hits land.

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

As the storm's outermost bands of wind and rain began to lash islands off the coast of the southern state of North Carolina, authorities in points farther north begged people to get out of harm's way.

President Barack Obama, speaking from Martha's Vineyard Island off the coast of Massachusetts before ending his vacation early, said all indications point to the storm being a historic hurricane.

"Don't wait. Don't delay," said Obama, who decided to cut short his summer vacation by a day and return to Washington. "I cannot stress this highly enough: If you are in the projected path of this hurricane, you have to take precautions now."

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Senior hurricane specialist Richard Pasch of the National Hurricane Center said there were signs that the hurricane may have weakened slightly, but strong winds continued to extend 100 miles from its center.

The storm's center was about 50 miles south of Cape Lookout, North Carolina, as of 4 a.m. ET Saturday as the storm lumbered north-northeastward at 14 mph.

Long before the storm's eye crossed the coastline, rain and tropical storm-force winds already were pelting North and South Carolina as Irene trudged north, snapping power lines and flooding streets. Officials warned of dangerous rip currents. Wind and rains knocked out power to about 45,000 customers along the coast, including a hospital.

Irene's wrath in the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas, gave a preview of what might be coming to the U.S.: Power outages, dangerous floods and high winds that caused millions of dollars in damage.

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The U.S. East Coast, home to some of the country's most densely populated cities and costliest waterfront real estate, was expected to suffer a multibillion-dollar disaster. At least 65 million people are in its projected track.

Landfall was likely to be around 9 a.m. ET Saturday near Cape Lookout on North Carolina's Outer Banks, the National Hurricane Center said, but the storm's outer bands buffeted South Carolina Friday, flooding streets and downing power lines.

Massive evacuation effort
With more coastal cities ordering evacuations ahead of Hurricane Irene, residents and tourists alike from North Carolina to New York City were moving toward higher ground.

Traffic jams as long as 20 miles were reported and some service stations in New Jersey and other areas ran out of gasoline, according to the Oil Price Information Service, which tracks supplies and prices. Gasoline demand jumped 20 percent to 40 percent in Mid-Atlantic states, the service said.

Evacuation orders covered 1 million people in New Jersey, 550,000 in New York, 315,000 in Maryland, 300,000 in North Carolina, 200,000 in Virginia and 100,000 in Delaware.

"This is probably the largest number of people that have been threatened by a single hurricane in the United States," said Jay Baker, a geography professor at Florida State University.

New York, the nation's largest city, was among those announcing evacuations Friday.

Video: Hurricane Irene to bring extensive storm surge

"We've never done a mandatory evacuation before and we wouldn't be doing it now if we didn't think this storm had the potential to be very serious,'' Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in warning some 300,000 people living in low-lying areas.

Some 250,000 people in nearby Long Island were also told to clear out by Saturday afternoon.

The region can expect 4-8 feet of water surge, the hurricane center said, "with the highest values possible in western Long Island Sound and New York Harbor. These tidal conditions will be accompanied by large, destructive and life threatening waves."

This massive, wet and slow-moving hurricane is forecast to soak a Northeast saturated by earlier rain and may come ashore at a time when tides are unusually high, making storm surge even worse — 4 to 11 feet with waves on top, forecasters say.

"Water is the No. 1 killer," said retired National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield. "That's going to cause the greatest loss of life."

Story: Worry more about Irene's water than storm's wind

Below is a look at impacts and preparations by region:

New York City
New York City ordered more than 300,000 people who live in flood-prone areas to leave, including Battery Park City at the southern tip of Manhattan, Coney Island and the beachfront Rockaways. But it was not clear how many would do it, how they would get out or where they would go. Most New Yorkers don't have a car.

New York's two airports are close to the water and could be inundated, as could densely packed neighborhoods, if the storm pushes ocean water into the city's waterways, officials said.

The five main New York City-area airports planned to close to arriving passenger flights beginning at noon ET on Saturday, aviation officials said. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airports and area bridges and tunnels, said Friday that many weekend departures already had been canceled in anticipation of the hurricane.

The suspension affects John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia airports in New York City, Stewart International in the city's northern suburbs and Newark Liberty International and Teterboro in New Jersey. It applies to domestic and international flights.

Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark are among the busiest airports in the nation. Together, all five airports serve 1.2 million flights and 104 million passengers a year.

Video: Bloomberg: 'Prepare for the worst, hope for the best'

"We do not have the manpower to go door-to-door and drag people out of their homes," Mayor Bloomberg said. "Nobody's going to get fined. Nobody's going to go to jail. But if you don't follow this, people might die."

Nearly 100 shelters were set to open, with a capacity of 71,000 people.

Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said subways, buses and commuter trains in the city, on Long Island and in the northern suburbs will be suspended starting around noon Saturday.

Cuomo added that 1,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen would help over the weekend.

The George Washington and Tappan Zee bridges, among others, were ordered shut if winds top 60 mph, as was the New York State Thruway.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials have said they can't run the transit system once sustained winds reach 39 mph, and they need an eight-hour lead time to shut it down.

Video: Gloria, Donna, Irene: NYC in hurricanes’ paths

Officials have entreated residents to take it upon themselves to get out early, but it remained unclear how many would heed the warnings that subways and buses might not be there for them if they waited.

A hurricane watch was in effect for New York City and Long Island for Sunday, with storm conditions possible Saturday night.

The MTA has never before halted its entire system — which carries about 5 million passengers on an average weekday — in advance of a storm, though the system was seriously hobbled by an August 2007 rainstorm that disabled or delayed every one of the city's subway lines.

Readers capture Hurricane Irene's approach

On Thursday, Bloomberg ordered nursing homes and five hospitals in low-lying areas evacuated beginning Friday. At Coney Island Hospital, officials were transferring 241 patients to six hospitals outside the evacuation zone.

Even if the winds aren't strong enough to damage buildings in a metropolis made largely of brick, concrete and steel, a lot of New York's subway system and other infrastructure is underground and subject to flooding in the event of an unusually strong storm surge or heavy rains.

Video: How to prepare for Irene

In the low-lying Financial District surrounding Wall Street, the New York Fed was readying contingency plans but expected normal functioning of its open market operations on Monday, a spokesman said.

The city had a brush with a tropical storm, Hanna, in 2008 that dumped 3 inches of rain in Manhattan.

In the last 200 years, New York has seen only a few significant hurricanes. In 1821, a hurricane raised tides by 13 feet in an hour and flooded all of Manhattan south of Canal Street, the southernmost tip of the city. The area now includes Wall Street and the World Trade Center memorial.

South Carolina
Hurricane Irene buffeted the coast of South Carolina on Friday, downing power lines, flooding streets and chewing away the sandy beaches that are the heart of the state's $14 billion tourism industry.

In the tourist district in Myrtle Beach late Friday, surfers and those who had walked down to the beach to watch the storm roiling the surf scattered. Cars crept along Ocean Boulevard with their lights on in the downpour. A wind gust of 62 mph was reported at Springmaid Pier.

Surf surged at the Caravelle Resort and flooded a nearby beach access.

At Edisto Beach, police reported waves of 10 to 12 feet and water on oceanside roads. At Folly Beach, significant erosion was reported. There was street flooding in Georgetown and standing water on roads up and down the coast.

Readers capture Hurricane Irene's approach

North Carolina
Forecasters warned wind-whipped water could create a dangerous storm surge, with levels along North Carolina's Albemarle and Pamlico sounds rising as much as 11 feet.

Traffic was steady as people left the Outer Banks, which started getting heavy rain early Friday evening.

Tourists were ordered to leave the barrier islands Thursday, though local officials estimated Friday that about half the residents on two of the islands have ignored evacuation orders.

As a result, officials ordered dozens of body bags.

"I anticipate we're going to have people floating on the streets, and I don't want to leave them lying there," said Richard Marlin, fire chief for one of the seven villages on Hatteras. "The Coast Guard will either be pulling people off their roofs like in Katrina or we'll be scraping them out of their yards."

In Nags Head, police officer Edward Mann cruised the streets in search of cars in driveways — a telltale sign some planned to stay behind. He warned those that authorities wouldn't be able to help holdouts, and that electricity and water could be out for days.

Price gougers put on notice

Some told Mann they're staying because they feel safe or because the storm won't be as bad as predicted. Mann, 25, said some have told him they've ridden out more storms than years he's been alive.

Bucky Domanski, 71, was among those who told Mann he wasn't leaving.

"I could be wrong, but everything meteorologists have predicted never pans out," Domanski said. "I don't know, maybe I've been lulled to sleep. But my gut tells me it's not going to be as bad as predicted. I hope I'm right."

The National Weather Service reported the roof was blown off a Belhaven, N.C., dealership from Irene-spawned tornado.

Virginia
After the Outer Banks, the next target for Irene is the Hampton Roads region of southeast Virginia, a jagged network of inlets and rivers that floods easily. Emergency officials have said the region is more threatened by storm surge, the high waves that accompany a storm, than wind.

Gas stations there were low on fuel Friday, and grocery stores scrambled to keep water and bread on the shelves.

Few people were left along the coast of Virginia Beach, where officials ordered the mandatory evacuation of the city's Sandbridge section.

Similar orders were issued for at least 10 other localities and some roads inland had backups 7-8 miles long.

Helpful links for stranded travelers

Maryland
The beach community of Ocean City was taking no chances, ordering thousands of people to leave.

"This is not a time to get out the camera and sit on the beach and take pictures of the waves," said Gov. Martin O'Malley.

Washington, D.C.
Irene forced the postponement of Sunday's planned dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall. While a direct strike on the nation's capital appeared slim, organizers said the forecasts of wind and heavy rain made it too dangerous to summon a throng they initially expected to number up to 250,000 people.

A state of emergency was declared Friday as a way to marshal resources ahead of Irene.

Story: Are you in Irene's path? Share photos, if it's safe to do so

New Jersey
Transit trains will stop running at noon Saturday, Gov. Chris Christie said Friday.

Aiming to speed up evacuations, Christie also suspended tolls on all parts of the Garden State Parkway south of the Raritan River and the Atlantic City Expressway.

Summer resort towns were emptying as officials ordered mandatory evacuation of the popular tourist areas along the state's coastal barrier islands.

Story: Irene knocks out power to nearly 200,000 homes

Hundreds of thousands of people were likely to be affected by the orders, which included evacuation of such heavily visited towns as Wildwood, Ocean City and Avalon, all in Cape May County where the summer tourist population is typically 750,000 people.

Traffic was jammed for some 20 miles on the Garden State Parkway, said Mike Durkin, who drove home to Jenkintown, Pa., from the Jersey shore.

"I think there is a lot of nervous energy," he said. "There are people who have been there for 30 years who always rode out the storms before. A neighbor told me he just wasn't going to take a chance on this one though," he added.

Video: To Jersey Shore: ‘Get out’ tonight

All 11 of Atlantic City's casinos were ordered to close by noon Saturday. The city's casinos have shut down only twice before, in 1985 for Hurricane Gloria and in 2006 because of a state government shutdown.

Philadelphia
Mass transit in the city and suburbs will be shut down early Sunday morning, officials said Friday.

The city of Chester, which sits on the Delaware River just south of Philadelphia, ordered residents in flood-prone areas to evacuate by noon on Saturday.  

Interactive: Hurricane facts, figures & preparation (on this page)

Connecticut
Gov. Daniel Malloy declared a state of emergency and warned there could be prolonged power outages if Irene dumps up to a foot of rain on already saturated ground.

He said emergency responders must be ready in event of any evacuations from heavily developed urban areas. "We are a much more urban state than we were in 1938," he said, referring to the year that the so-called "Long Island Express" hurricane killed 600 people and caused major damage with 17-foot storm surges and high winds.

Boston
While some residents flocked to the supermarket for bottled water and nonperishable food, others rushed to the local hardware store.

"Our number of customers has tripled in the last day or two as people actually said 'wow, this thing is going to happen,'" said Jack Gurnon, owner of Charles Street Supply, a hardware store in Boston's wealthy Beacon Hill neighborhood.

Tape for windows, flashlights and batteries were flying off shelves, but Gurnon said people were worried about flooding and have been scooping up sump pumps, too.

Rhode Island
The towns of Narragansett and South Kingstown on Friday announced mandatory evacuations for residents in flood-prone areas for no later than 10 a.m. Sunday.

Slideshow: Cartoonists poke at Irene (on this page)

Florida
While avoiding a direct hit, the state did see the first U.S. injuries from Irene when eight people were washed off a jetty in West Palm Beach on Thursday by a large wave churned up by the storm. All survived.

Bahamas
The government said the storm earlier knocked out communications to islands such as Eleuthera and Abaco and that only partial reports of damage were so far available.

No reports of deaths or injuries were received, but some 180 homes on Acklins Island were destroyed or damaged.

The capital sustained relatively minor flooding and damage.

Insured losses in the Caribbean from Irene will be between $500 million and $1.1 billion, risk assessor firm Air Worldwide said on Friday, adding that the Bahamas will account for more than 60 percent of the loss.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Interactive: Hurricane Tracker

See current storm data and paths of earlier storms from this season.

Video: Hurricane Irene slows slightly

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