Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Irene 2011: Tens of thousands flee Hurricane Irene as experts predict a 'nightmare scenario' - 26th Aug 2011

Tens of thousands of Americans are fleeing the East Coast as one of the country's leading experts warned that Hurricane Irene would cause a 'nightmare scenario' when it makes landfall tomorrow morning.

A total of 65million people are within warning zones with the Category 3 storm predicted to cause billions of dollar's worth of destruction.

'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. 'This is going to have an impact on the United States economy.'

Millions of energy customers are at risk of long-lasting power outages as strong winds and heavy rains threaten utility wires and poles.

The storm, with winds of 115mph, would be the strongest to strike the East Coast in seven years, and people are already getting out of the way.

Tens of thousands fled North Carolina beach towns, farmers pulled up their crops, and the Navy ordered ships to sea so they could endure the punishing wind and waves in open water.

There were reports last night of gas stations going dry and ATMs running out of cash as cars went bumper to bumper on highways in a slow-motion scramble to heed forecasters' warnings.

With New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and Delaware all declaring states of emergency the cost of the hurricane would be vast. Read More