Why Irene Is Still a Threat

Why Irene Is Still a Threat

Officials warn of extreme flooding in the days to come.

Published August 28, 2011

The worst of Irene may be over, but danger still remains.


Specifically, the threat of severe flooding is anticipated across much of the East Coast in the days ahead.


With vicious winds and heavy rain, Irene first lashed coastal communities along the Carolinas and made its way up the coast. Irene weakened to tropical storm strength with sustained winds of 65 mph on Sunday as it reached New York.


Irene is expected to continue to weaken as it passes over New England, and it should move over Eastern Canada by Sunday night. It remains a massive storm, however, with powerful winds extending more than 300 miles from the center.


Power lines were split in half and trees were ripped from the ground, causing major road blockages and making flooded areas even worse. It could be days before the full extent of the damage is known, according to reports.


As runoff from the storm makes its way to rivers and creeks, officials warn of extreme flooding. In some places, Irene brought six inches to one foot of rain.


In one Eastern North Carolina neighborhood, two dozen homes were destroyed by flooding and officials feared more damage could be uncovered.


Swollen creeks and rising rivers are spilling into streets in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, according to reports. Sirens were triggered Sunday by rising waters at a dam on a creek near Gilboa in upstate New York.


More than 4.5 million homes and businesses along the East Coast lost power, though power was restored to hundreds of thousands of homes by Sunday afternoon. Fourteen deaths have been reported.


Despite reports of flooding, downed trees and power lines, there have been few reports of major damage along the coast.


The nearly 400,000 New Yorkers who had been ordered to evacuate low-lying neighborhoods in advance of Irene were told they could return home on Sunday afternoon. However, it will likely be an especially rough Monday as officials predict the city’s transit system,  the largest in the nation, won’t be up and running in time for the morning commute.


Written by Britt Middleton


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