This Hurricane Irene is said to be one for the record books:
As Hurricane Irene menaces East Coast of the U.S., more than 70 million people in the path of the storm have begun preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. Irene, currently downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane with 110 mph winds, could be one for the record books, with its unique forecast track up the Eastern Seaboard. The hurricane is a particularly slow-moving storm and authorities are concerned about how long it may linger over the cities and towns it strikes.
“One of my greatest nightmares was having a major hurricane go up the whole Northeast Coast,” said Max Mayfield, the former chief of the National Hurricane Center, saying that it will lead to damages in the billions.
“This is going to have an impact on the United States economy,” Mayfield added.
The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency noted the high value of property in major U.S. East Coast cities like New York, Philadelphia and Boston.
“We’ve got a lot more people that are potentially in the path of this storm,” FEMA Director Craig Fugate told the Associated Press. “This is one of the largest populations that will be impacted by one storm at one time. A little bit of damage over big areas with large populations can add up fast.”
Some scientists have said that the eye of the hurricane will fall directly on New York City, rattling Manhattan and Brooklyn and then moving up the coast. Fearing Irene’s wrath, Amtrak announced it is canceling all train service south of Washington D.C. for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Irene is traveling at 12 mph, making it a slow-moving storm which will allow it to hover over an area and area to dump rain and batter it with ferocious winds for an extended period.
It is expected to slam into the North Carolina coast Saturday afternoon and then churn north along the coast as far as Boston. She is expected to arrive in New York Sunday afternoon.