Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hurricane Irene Raised to Category 3: East coast braces for Hurricane Irene as isolated island is evacuated and storm strength upgraded - 24th Aug

The U.S. east coast is bracing itself for a first major hurricane in seven years.

Evacuations began on a tiny barrier island off North Carolina as Hurricane Irene strengthened to a major Category 3 storm over the Bahamas today with the east coast in its sights.

Irene's maximum sustained winds have already increased to near 115mph and it’s likely to grow into a Category 4 monster by the time it hits mainland U.S. this weekend and crawls up the northeast.

The evacuation in North Carolina was a test of whether people in the crosshairs of the first major hurricane along the east coast in years would heed orders to get out of the way.

The first ferry to leave Ocracoke Island arrived at 5:30am in nearby Hatteras with around a dozen cars on board – but it won’t be easy to get thousands of people off as they can only leave by boat. Read More