MIAMI – On Friday Hurricane Irene has subsided but continues to threaten the East Coast of the United States. It went in Category 2 with sustained winds of 175km / h, said the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
Alert was issued for several hundred kilometers of coastline of the eastern facade of the United States, from North Carolina to New Jersey, southern New York. A lookout on the coast further north, is including Long Island suburb of New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, and New Hampshire.
The cities of Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston and New York are on alert. Evacuations have taken place in North Carolina, while other residents barricaded themselves in their homes.
According to forecasts from NHC, Irene could strengthen before reaching the coast Saturday morning, North Carolina. It should then go along the east coast, with very heavy rain from Virginia to New York before weakening and reach New England. The most affected areas could receive up to 250mm (liters per square meter) of rain.
Friday morning, the hurricane center was located 675km south-southwest of Cape Hatteras, North Carolon, and was moving north at 22km / h. On Thursday the cyclone made landfall on the Bahamas, southeast of Florida, destroying hundreds of homes. There were no immediate balances.
This is the first major hurricane to threaten the East Coast since 2004 the United States, one of the most populous regions of the country. “One of my biggest dreams has always been to have a major hurricane up along the entire north-east coast,” said Max Mayfield, former director of the NHC.
Hurricane in the worst case, could cause billions of dollars in damage, said Kathleen Tierney, director of research center on natural disasters at the University of Colorado. Many cities, ports, airports, highways, railway lines and cultures are on the path of the disturbance.
In New York, which was not affected by a hurricane since 1985, part of the subway and other underground infrastructure are likely to be flooded, as the two major New York airports, JFK and La Guardia, located near the sea.