Satellite photo of Hurricane Irene
Hurricane Irene is threatening the East coast and several states have declared emergencies ahead of the storm making landfall. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Hurricane Irene, a large tropical storm, is making its way toward the eastern coast of the United States. Preparations and evacuations have begun ahead of the hurricane making landfall, which could happen as early as Saturday.

States of emergency already being declared

Hurricane Irene is heading straight for the East Coast and is projected to make landfall by Sunday, if not sooner. At the time of this writing, the storm is a Category Three hurricane, according to MSNBC, but could strengthen into a Category Four by the time it hits land. The storm is anticipated to first touch land somewhere in the vicinity of North Carolina or Virginia, according to CNN. In response to the looming hurricane, the governors of Virginia, North Carolina and New Jersey have declared a state of emergency ahead of the hurricane reaching land.

Some evacuations being ordered

Evacuations have been ordered in some areas. A mandatory evacuation was ordered for Hyde County, N.C. An evacuation order was issued for tourists in Dare County, a popular recreation area in North Carolina that includes resorts and the historic town of Kitty Hawk, where the Wright Brothers took their first flight. Residents of Dare County will also likely be evacuated, according to MSNBC, before the weekend. According to the Wall Street Journal, Amtrak has canceled train service to Washington D.C. for the entire weekend because the hurricane is projected to come close to the nation’s capital. The storm, according to ABC, is 750 miles across. Winds from the storm are hurricane-force up to a 70-mile radius from the center, and tropical storm-force winds extend 290 miles from the center.

FEMA advises caution

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is advising people to not take chances, according to CBS. Residents in at-risk areas are advised to take precautions like boarding up windows and doors and securing structures and to do so sooner rather than later. Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City is advising people to seek higher ground and could possibly order evacuations of some areas of the New York waterfront. The storm could weaken to a Category Two by the time it reaches New York. The National Guard, according to the Wall Street Journal, has mobilized up to 98,000 troops for emergency management and North Carolina’s Fort Bragg has been assigned as an “incident support base” with emergency shelters and stockpiles of supplies, should it be necessary to evacuate people to there.



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