Irene Hits US: Flood And Power Cuts Alert
Tropical storm Irene has battered northeastern America, leaving 20 people dead – as President Barack Obama warned there could be worse to come.
An 11-year-old boy was among those killed by the extreme weather when a tree hit an apartment. Four people were confirmed dead in Pennsylvania and six people have died in North Carolina. Five million homes and businesses are without electricity.
The tropical storm warning for the east coast has now been cancelled.
However, Mr Obama , who had cut short his holiday to oversee storm preparations, has warned the area’s problems are not over. He said: “Many Americans are still at risk of power outages and flooding which could get worse in the coming days as rivers swell past their banks. “I want people to understand this is not over.”
The storm was downgraded from a category one hurricane, but still brought winds of more than 60mph. New Jersey was among the areas worst hit with Governor Chris Christie predicting the cost of repairing the damage would run into billions of dollars. The state suffered severe flooding, with trees downed and power lines knocked out. Rail services will remain suspended due to the damage sustained in the storm, despite hopes that a limited service could be run. People have reported that winds have upended concrete benches on the Asbury Park boardwalk and the walkway has been covered in sand.
Despite being spared the worst of the weather, most of the public transport in New York is expected to remain closed this morning.
More than 11,000 flights have been cancelled since Friday although some are expected to resume later today as John F Kennedy and Newark airports reopen. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said there were no reports of deaths or injuries in the city. But 60 people, including three babies, had to be rescued from 21 homes on Staten Island which had been flooded by 5ft (1.5m) of water.
There were concerns about severe flooding in the area close to Wall Street on Manhattan, however only a foot of water was seen. Washington, which was also on alert for the storm, saw 20cm (eight inches) of rain but there was no major damage. Some federal buildings in the area are without power, however all agencies are expected to open.
The National Hurricane Centre said the storm is now headed towards Canada with wind speeds dropping to 50 mph (80kmph).
Category: World News |