New York City seemingly spared as Tropical Storm Irene churns on

F. LETUVEE
Par F. LETUVEE 28 Août 2011 11:32

New York City seemingly spared as Tropical Storm Irene churns on

River waters began flooding into Manhattan’s streets as Irene lashed New York City with wind gusts and torrential rains Sunday morning.

Even as Irene weakened to a tropical storm, authorities warned that its impact was not waning.

Officials said the storm had knocked out power to more than 3 million people and was responsible for at least 11 deaths in four states as it pummeled some of the biggest cities in the Northeast.

In lower Manhattan, the Hudson River overflowed, sending massive amounts of water spilling over jogging paths and pouring into at least one nearby apartment building. Water also lapped over the banks of New York City’s East River early Sunday but later receded.

Follow the latest developments here, check out our Open Story or read the full CNN Wire story:

[Update 11:24a.m. Sunday] The North Tube of the Holland Tunnel, which had been closed earlier due to flooding, has been reopened by The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The George Washington Bridge’s lower level, and the Palisades Interstate Parkway ramp to the bridge, which were also close, are now open.

[Update 11:17 a.m. Sunday]  Tropical Storm Irene now has maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, the National Hurricane Center said in its 11 a.m. ET advisory Sunday, but it warned of “an extremely dangerous storm surge” along some northeastern states’ coastlines.

The center of Irene is inland over southeastern New York state and southern New England, and will move over northern New England later Sunday and over eastern Canada Sunday night, the NHC said.

“An extremely dangerous storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 4 to 8 feet above ground level from western portions of Long Island island Sound eastward along the southern coasts of Connecticut, Rhode island and Massachusetts.”

The surge “will be accompanied by large, destructive, and life-threatening waves,” the NHC said, adding that water levels along the New Jersey and Delaware coast, including Delaware Bay, will subside Sunday.

[Update 11:07 a.m. Sunday] Hurricane Irene will leave billions of dollars in damages in its wake as it continues to move up the East Coast, CNNMoney.com reports.

According to the most recent government model, projected economic loss from wind damage alone is forecast to top $1 billion. That’s less than earlier estimates that topped $2 billion but it does not account for flood and other storm damage.

[Update 11:06  a.m. Sunday] Tropical Storm Irene now has maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, the National Hurricane Center said in its 11 a.m. ET advisory Sunday. The center is inland over southeastern New York state.

[Update 10:43  a.m. Sunday]  New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie asked residents that evacuated to wait and not return home until he and the rest of the government can make sure it is safe.

” Have a little patience, allow us to go down there first,” he said. “I have no interest in keeping people away from their homes a minute longer than I have to. I want to get you there as quickly as I can, but I want to make sure you will be safe.”

Downtown Millburn, New Jersey is underwater after Hurricane Irene moved through the city.

Christie added that New Jersey still would see some more impact from the bottom part of the storm, so they aren’t in the clear yet.

“Let’s not make a mistake on the tail end here,” he cautioned. “Let’s not do it by doing something stupid at the end. As soon as I can I will give the all-clear sign to people to go home.”

[Update 10:43  a.m. Sunday] CNN’s Chad Meyers explains that New York may see a bit more wind and rain as the center of the storm moves away and the outer bands pass through.

“Whats over now is the storm surge, that was the big concern,” Meyers said.

He explained the major concern was that the maximum surge would align at the time of high tide, which would have likely made the waters high enough to go into the subway and also make it’s way to the World Trade Center site in New York City.

He said while the main part of the storm had passed New York City, residents should expect to still see some storm conditions for the next few hours.

[Update 10:34  a.m. Sunday] Residents in Newport, Rhode Island are beginning to feel the the brunt of the storm.

Although the storm is considerably weaker than predicted, CNN’s Gary Tuchman reports the resort city is waiting to see how it will be impacted by Tropical Storm Irene.

“This is a very vulnerable city because the beaches face toward the south,” he said.

That’s the same direction the storm is coming from, Tuchman said. The city already is under some mandatory evacuations.

[Update 10:22  a.m. Sunday] CNN’s Anderson Cooper, reporting from Battery Park in New York, says that the flooding there is receding and it is no longer raining.

“The winds have also died down,” he said, noting that New Yorkers were beginning to come out of their homes as the weather appeared to get better.

He said the Holland Tunnel has also reopened.

[Update 10:22  a.m. Sunday] CNN Weather’s Chad Meyers explains that New York City may have gotten lucky – at the expense of North Carolina.

Meyers said after Irene battered North Carolina, the storm never really picked up steam again and packed the punch that it expected in New York.

He explained that if North Carolina was not in the storm’s path it could have likely hit New York as a Category 3 storm.

For now, he said, it appears New York has been spared the major damage that was expected based on earlier predictions.

[Update 10:13  a.m. Sunday] CNN’s Soledad O’Brien reports from the West Village that much of the flooding in the area has now receded.

“Earlier we saw the banks of the Hudson overflowing,” she said.

Open Story: Watch an iReporters view of the Hudson River flooding

“The rain is not coming down like we thought it would and the winds aren’t that high, so it’s receding.” she said. “The walkways that were covered in two feet of water two hours ago have now gone back to not being flooded at all.”

An apartment building that had water flooding the lobby now was also seeing water recede.

[Update 9:57  a.m. Sunday] The New York State Thruway north and southbound between Exits 12 (West Nyack) and 17 (Newburgh) is closed due to flooding, according to NY Governor Andrew Cuomo. Southbound traffic should exit at Exit 17 and northbound traffic exit at Exit 12.

[Update 9:48 a.m. Sunday] The East River is no longer topping its banks in Lower Manhattan as the tide turns and Tropical Irene moves north.

[Update 9:31 a.m. Sunday] The FDR Drive is closed in both directions at Houston Street in Manhattan due to flooding conditions, according to NYC officials. Extensive traffic delays are expected.

[Update 9:31 a.m. Sunday] People should “stay inside, stay safe” and “let the power crews do their jobs” as Hurricane Irene continues to move north, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency told CNN on Sunday.

“For a lot of folks, the danger still exists,” FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said. “We still will have trees coming down, heavy rain, strong winds.”

[Update 9:24 a.m. Sunday] People who were forced to evacuate due to Hurricane Irene should only return to their homes when local officials say all is clear, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Sunday.

Craig Fugate also told the NBC program “Meet the Press” that some of the hundreds of thousands of people who lost power during the storm may not get their electricity restored for days.

[Update 9:19 a.m. Sunday] Rhode Island is now experiencing heavy rain and high winds, according to CNN staff on scene.

“61 thousand families are without power, and pretty much every community is affected,” said Christine Hunsinger, spokesperson for the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency.

Hunsiger said that several hundred people have taken advantage of shelters, and, “we did see a lot of cooperation in the mandatory
evacuation zones.” She says they do not anticipate widening the evacuation zones any more, but that it is a local decision.

[Update 9:18 a.m. Sunday] New Jersey Governor Chris Christie warned residents to still remain inside from the wrath of Irene.

“Do not leave your homes,” he said. ” People want to get out there right now, but its still not safe to get out there. We’ve got flooding everywhere. Its very dangerous for folks to get out there already.”

He noted that even though Irene is now a tropical storm, there are still a lot of flooding concerns.

“We have a serious situation in New Jersey,” he said. “Half of our state is still being covered by the storm.”

He said that rivers were swelling to record levels and the state has closed over 250 roads and there are 15,000 people in emergency shelters.

“Our real concern is flooding,” Christie said.  “We’re talking about not only coastal flooding, but inland.”

[Update 9:07 a.m. Sunday] Irene has weakened to a tropical storm with 65 mph winds.

[Update 9:06 a.m. Sunday] CNN’s Rob Marciano is reporting from Long Beach, New York that in the last ten minutes the wind has shifted and the area is seeing the “most intense weather” so far.

The ocean and Reynolds Channel have met in the streets of Long Beach and the storm surge has done significant damage.

“We are getting whats left of Irene’s right eye wall,” Marciano said. “Winds have been sustained, easily at 50 mph where we stand with much, much higher gusts. The water as you can see behind me has been relentlessly pounding the shoreline.”

[Update 9:00 a.m. Sunday] The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority says it has shut down all modes of transit.  MTBA website says shutdown will continue for the remainder of Sunday and Sunday night.

[Update 8:59 a.m. Sunday] CNN’s Soledad O’Brien reports that in lower Manhattan “tons of water” from the Hudson River has made it’s way into the streets near the West Side Highway.

“It is now flowing into the jogging paths,” she reported. “We haven’t gotten the brunt of the Hurricane yet.”

Water pours in from the Hudson River into lower Manhattan on Sunday

O’Brien said there are some concerns at apartment buildings in Zone A in Manhattan where flooding is pouring into some buildings. There are concerns elevators and power will go down soon and residents of the meatpacking district will be stuck.

CNN

F. LETUVEE
Par F. LETUVEE 28 Août 2011 11:32