News / USA

    New York City Withstands Irene's Rains and Winds

    Three local residents stand at  the East River in the Brooklyn borough of New York City after hurricane Irene, downgraded in the city to a tropical storm, passed through, August 28, 2011
    Three local residents stand at the East River in the Brooklyn borough of New York City after hurricane Irene, downgraded in the city to a tropical storm, passed through, August 28, 2011
    Margaret Besheer

    New York City was spared hurricane force winds when Irene made landfall early Sunday in Coney Island, Brooklyn. The storm, which has been battering and threatening the east coast of the United States since Saturday, came ashore in the biggest U.S. city as a tropical storm and did not cause the widespread damage that was feared.

    Irene battered this city of more than eight million people all through the night.  Gusting winds and pounding rains announced her arrival hours before she made landfall, making it difficult for anxious city residents to get a good night's sleep.

    Many worried about flooding from New York's two large rivers, the Hudson and the East River, and from pounding rain that started Saturday afternoon and continued with a vengeance through the night. Judy Sayegh, of Brooklyn, said she was concerned that her basement would flood.

    “I woke up many times during the night to check that water was not coming into my cellar from my backyard because of the heavy rains and the wind. I was very relieved to see that my cellar was dry.”

    A boy floats on a newspaper box in a flooded street in the Soho section of Manhattan after Hurricane Irene passed over the New York City area August 28, 2011
    A boy floats on a newspaper box in a flooded street in the Soho section of Manhattan after Hurricane Irene passed over the New York City area August 28, 2011

    Although she brought with her flood waters in some low-lying areas, ultimately Irene did not live up to weather forecasters' worst fears. When she hit Coney Island, famous for its boardwalk and amusement park, the U.S. Weather Service said her winds fell just short of the 119-kilometers per hour required for hurricane strength and downgraded Irene to a tropical storm.

    This was good news for New Yorkers, where the governor had called up 2,000 National Guard troops to help residents through what could have been an historic weather event that also threatened the heart of the nation's financial center.

    City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called for 370,000 residents living in low-lying areas in lower Manhattan, Staten Island and Brooklyn to evacuate before Irene's arrival, the first time the city has ever had such an evacuation.

    More than 9,000 flights were canceled at area airports, the city's massive subway system shut down, as did buses and commuter trains. Baseball games and Broadway shows were canceled and even the city's zoos closed down ahead of Irene.

    By Sunday, officials said approximately one-million people in the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut area had lost electricity.

    In New York, Con Edison, the power company, said 1,700 workers were working through the storm to try to maintain electricity and several hundred more from as far away as Michigan, Texas and Colorado were traveling to New York to help them keep the lights and air conditioners on.

    Heavy rains on already saturated ground made fallen trees a particular danger. Broken branches and strewn leaves could be seen on many streets in Irene's wake.

    But most New Yorkers took the storm in stride, some throwing Irene parties on Saturday.

    Brooklyn resident Jean McKenna said she did not let extensive media coverage unnerve her.

    “Well, I tried not to worry about it too much because we have had these situations before when they predict big storms or big events of some sort and then they come to nothing. I mean, you want to be prepared of course, but you do not want to overdo it.”

    Now the clean up begins. The city has not said yet whether the transit system will be up and running normally in time for Monday morning's rush hour. For some, this will be Irene's most inconvenient legacy.

    You May Like

    Pentagon: Afghan Hospital Bombing Not a War Crime

    US Central Command's Joseph Votel says probe found tragedy was result of 'extraordinarily intense situation' that included multiple equipment failures

    US Minorities Link Guns with Other Social Ills

    New study finds reduction in gun violence could help lower America’s incarceration rate – the world’s highest - and improve relationships between police, citizens in minority communities

    US Millennials Beat Baby Boomers as Largest Living Generation

    America's young people are about to take over and here's what we can expect from them

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora