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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid