Hurricane Irene update: Sunday morning sees storm's fury move north

Sunday morning saw a slightly diminished hurricane Irene continuing its move up the East Coast with wind, rain, and coastal storm surges hitting New York and New Jersey.

By , Staff writer

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    A person makes their way in the rain in Times Square Sunday morning as hurricane Irene hits New York with rain and high winds. The city resembled a ghost town after 370,000 people were told to evacuate flood-prone areas and mass transport was shut down.
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Sunday morning saw a slightly diminished Irene – still a Category 1 hurricane – continuing its predicted move up the East Coast of the United States with wind, rain, and coastal storm surges hitting New York and New Jersey as predicted.

Irene made landfall Sunday along the New Jersey coast north of Atlantic City near Little Egg Inlet, the first hurricane to make landfall in the state in more than 100 years. According to the National Hurricane Center, Irene at 8 am was tracking NNE at 25 miles per hour with sustained winds of 75 miles per hour gusting to 115 mph.

While the warning level south of there (parts of Maryland and Virginia) had been downgraded to a tropical storm, a hurricane warning remained in effect for an area from Chincoteague, Va., to Sagamore Beach, Mass., including Delaware Bay, New York City, Long Island, Long Island Sound, coastal Connecticut and Rhode Island, Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket.

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For the most part, people in Irene’s path heeded the warnings of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and other officials and stayed hunkered down in their homes. Public transportation systems, airlines, and Amtrak had ceased operations in most places as well.

Watch this Monitor video of Irene's impact on New Jersey:

New York City anticipated the greatest possibility of storm surges and flooding Sunday morning at high tide. Tornado warnings were in effect for parts of the region as well, and one twister reportedly touched down near Chatsworth, New Jersey.

So far, Irene has knocked out electrical power for about three million homes and businesses in the storm’s path, including more than one million in North Carolina and Virginia and nearly a half million in New York and its suburbs.

ConEd has called in crews from as far away as Colorado to help repair damage from the storm, reports the Associated Press.

Though its fury may have abated, Irene has not been without significant cost.

So far, ten people have been killed in storm-related incidents, and experts expect financial losses to range into the billions of dollars.

Irene is expected to be the most powerful storm to hit New York since Gloria in 1985.

Watch video of the storms progress here:

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