News / USA

Hurricane Irene Bears Down on Millions in Eastern US

Sean Maroney

Tens of millions of people in the eastern United States are bracing for Hurricane Irene, which forecasters say could be the biggest storm to strike the area in more than half a century.  It brings the threat of heavy wind, rain and flooding after punishing the Caribbean late Thursday with winds as high as 185 kilometers per hour. 

NOAA video on Hurricane Irene's path



U.S. weather forecasters say they expect Hurricane Irene to affect some 65 million people along the east coast in the coming days.

State of Emergency


The governors of North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and New York have all declared states of emergency in order to free up resources for disaster relief.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Irene has slightly weakened, with maximum sustained winds of 175 kilometers an hour, but it remains a dangerous category two storm on a five-point scale measuring a storm's intensity and potential destructive power.  Forecasters expect it to strengthen as it nears the North Carolina coast.  

Irene has killed at least one person in Puerto Rico and two in the Dominican Republic. 

American Red Cross spokesman Chris Osborne describes the enormity of the storm, speaking with VOA by phone outside late Thursday from the North Carolina coast.

"This hurricane stands to possibly affect the entire eastern seaboard.  The Red Cross has already prepositioned more than 200 emergency response vehicles and lots of volunteers, dozens, I should even say hundreds of volunteers.  And so certainly we are looking at this, monitoring it minute by minute, hour by hour," he said.

What you should do


Osborne says his organization has warned everyone in the storm's path to get a disaster kit, make a family emergency plan and listen to local officials regarding evacuations.

He says the Red Cross is hoping for the best, while expecting the worst, and that it is positioned to respond to any affected areas.

"One of the good things about a hurricane is that we consider it a slow-moving disaster, which means that we have a little lead time to get ready and prep and get people and supplies in the right place.  We will be here until the job is done," he said.

Concerns

Hurricane Irene is the second natural disaster to affect the eastern U.S. within the past week.  On Tuesday, the biggest earthquake in more than a century struck the region, shocking many residents who now find themselves in the path of the storm.

Although damage was minimal in the 5.8 magnitude quake, authorities were concerned that high mobile phone usage jammed networks causing service to fail for many in the Washington area.

Despite this threat, Osborne says his organization still is encouraging people to use its website and mobile phone services for help during the storm.

"We know that cell phone service can sometimes be sketchy, but a lot of times, cell phone service is the quickest thing to get back up and running so that's always a good alternative to communicate with the Red Cross and find out how we can help," he said.

Irene is the first hurricane to seriously threaten the United States in three years.

The head of the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency predicts the storm will have an impact "well inland," both from flooding and winds, which can topple trees and cause power outages.  Authorities also warn that recent heavy rains across much of the east coast could compound the flooding.

In the meantime, Hurricane Irene has disrupted planned events up-and-down the east coast, including the dedication in Washington of the new memorial  to the famed U.S. civil rights leader, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which had been scheduled for Sunday.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid