Irene Lands in NJ, Big Apple Braces

'Time for evacuation is over,' says Bloomberg
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2011 7:02 AM CDT
Irene Lands in NJ, Big Apple Braces
A stranded sailboat founders in the surf along the Willoughby Spit area of Norfolk, Va. as Hurricane Irene hits Norfolk, Va., Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011.   (Steve Helber)

(Newser) – Barely a hurricane but massive and packed with rain, Irene lumbered onto the New Jersey shore this morning on its way toward pummeling New York, which the AP reports turned eerily quiet as the city hunkered down. The National Hurricane Center said the center of the huge storm reached land near Little Egg Inlet, about 85 miles south-southwest of New York, at 5:35am. The eye previously reached land yesterday in North Carolina before returning to the Atlantic, straddling the East Coast as it flooded towns, killed at least eight people and knocked out power to more than 3 million homes and businesses.

The latest:

  • Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned late yesterday that no matter whether residents of low-lying areas heeded his calls to evacuate, "The time for evacuation is over. Everyone should now go inside and stay inside."
  • Hours before the storm's center was to reach New York, a 58mph wind gust hit John F. Kennedy International Airport and a storm surge of more than 3.5 feet was reported in New York Harbor.
  • A National Weather Service meteorologist said a storm surge of 4 to 8 feet was expected to rush in around 8am. Wind and rain should start diminishing by midafternoon, but if the storm surge deluges Lower Manhattan, the water could linger for a day.
  • By this morning, the storm had sustained winds of 75mph, down from 100mph on Friday, and just 1mph more than the 74mph minimum for a Category 1 hurricane.
  • Tornadoes were reported in Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware, and several warnings were issued elsewhere, including New York and Philadelphia.
  • More than 1 million of the homes and businesses without power were in Virginia and North Carolina. Then the storm knocked out power overnight to hundreds of thousands in Washington, DC, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, the New York City area, and Connecticut.
For scenes from Hurricane Irene, click through the gallery. (Read more Hurricane Irene stories.)

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