Hurricane Irene: As it happened on 27 August

Key points

  • The mayor of New York City ordered hundreds of thousands to leave their homes. All times GMT (EDT+4; BST-1)
  • Two million people along the east coast of the United States have been told to evacuate.
  • The hurricane is roaring up the east coast after making landfall in North Carolina.
  1.  
    1400:

    Hello. Welcome to our live page. As Hurricane Irene makes landfall in North Carolina, the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, has issued a final appeal for people in designated evacuation zones to leave the city. Stay with us for the latest updates - reports from our correspondents on the ground and your reaction. You can contact us via email, text or twitter. We'll publish what we can.

     
  2.  
    1405:

    At a news conference Mr Bloomberg said this was a matter of life and death. Staying behind was "dangerous, foolish and illegal."

     
  3.  
    1407:

    The hurricane has already battered the Caribbean. Here are some readers' pictures as the hurricane swept across the region and made landfall in the US.

     
  4.  
    Via Twitter Governor Christie of New Jersey

    tweets Get the hell off the beach. Use common sense and get to safety as soon as possible. Watch video now: http://bit.ly/qckdqr #irene

     
  5.  
    1415:

    New York City's subway system is set to close down at noon. City bridges may close if high winds make driving across them dangerous.

     
  6.  
    1419:

    The latest images of Hurricane Irene from space can be seen on Nasa's hurricane resource page.

     
  7.  
    1428:

    The Wilmington Star News in North Carolina has photos of the impact of Irene on the state.

     
  8.  
    1432:

    More from Mayor Bloomberg's dramatic news conference: "The great danger to us here is from the storm surge, and there's no evidence that the forecast for that is changing." Officials fear that a surge of seawater - on top of new moon high tides - could lead to some flooding.

     
  9.  
    Via Twitter

    Wilmington-based journalist Judy Royal tweets: Still no electricity so sitting in my car working with a MiFi card (lifesaver) and plugged into power converter. #pinc #irene

     
  10.  
    1442:

    ABC News has published a live storm tracker, where you can see Hurricane Irene's current position and likely path as projected by the NOAA's National Hurricane Center.

     
  11.  

    The New York Mayor's Office tweets: Some 7,000 patients in hospitals, nursing homes and adult care facilities in Zone A and the Rockaways have already been evacuated. #Irene

     
  12.  
    1449:

    Former US President George HW Bush and his wife Barbara are planning to ride out Hurricane Irene at their summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine, the Associated Press news agency reports. But a spokesman says that they will follow the advice of emergency officials.

     
  13.  
    1452:

    The New York Times has curated a list of good twitter updates to follow charting the progress of the hurricane.

     
  14.  
    1454:

    The storm knocked out power to nearly 250,000 customers in North Carolina and Virginia, the Reuters news agency reported. And a spokesman for Progress Energy told Reuters that operations at the Brunswick nuclear power station in North Carolina were reduced to ensure it could still run if the storm hit the electric grid.

     
  15.  
    Kim Severson of the New York Times

    tweets: At the local hospital in Wilmington, two babies born last night will have the middle name @irene

     
  16.  
    Steve Holland from Reuters

    tweets from Washington: Starting to get some #Irene rain in DC area and the air has this salty, beachy tang.

     
  17.  
    1459:

    Forecasters say that tropical storm conditions have spread into coastal Virginia, Maryland and Delaware as Irene heads north, AP reports.

     
  18.  
    1507:

    Some bridges, streets and subways are virtually deserted in New York, AP reports, amid stern warnings about the approaching storm. As rain started falling, one resident expressed his disgruntlement. "What the mayor did - shutting down the transportation system - is more dangerous than the storm," said Daryl Edelman, a comic book writer. "People could be left stranded - especially the elderly," he told the news agency.

     
  19.  
    Steve from Wilmington, North Carolina

    writes: We lost power this morning at 4am, there is tree debris all over the roads and a few trees have lost limbs. A friend has just bought some coffee over - I think the worst has passed.

     
  20.  
    Fiona Lee in New York

    has been tweeting about her evacuation: Safe and warmly welcomed at my friend's dig: lockerz.com/s/133343041

     
  21.  
    Victoria Byres in New York

    writes: Went out to get water last night and had to go to two different supermarkets. The shelves had been ransacked, water all sold out. It's cloudy but barely any wind yet! Last week our roads flooded so I imagine that will be our biggest problem in west New York.

     
  22.  
    1519:

    Hurricane Irene will affect all resort areas of New Jersey on Sunday morning, the US national hurricane centre director says.

     
  23.  
    1523:

    Bill Read from the National Hurricane Centre says that the likelihood of the storm exceeding four feet is high aroudn the Delaware Bay.

     
  24.  
    1524:

    Craig Fugate from Fema, the emergency management agency, warns that tornados are expected but that they will be very quick, they will not be on the ground very long, but they can still be very devastating. That is why, he says, they are asking people to stay inside and way from external walls and windows.

     
  25.  
    1527:

    Hurricane Irene remains a "large and dangerous" storm as it moves up the east coast, US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said at a news conference. Bill Read from the National Hurricane Centre, speaking via video-link, said that a storm surge was also forecast for Long Island Sound and metropolitan New York.

     
  26.  
    Angela Macropoulos in New York

    tweets Lots of chatter inside bagel store about who will actually evacuate. Ambivalence. #irene

     
  27.  
    New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg

    tweets You can't prepare for the best case, you have to prepare for the worst case http://t.co/ytCJ3xH #Irene

     
  28.  
    1536:

    The first death caused by Hurricane Irene has been reported in North Carolina, the AP news agency says. Authorities there say that the storm blew a "large tree limb" onto the man, killing him. He had been walking outside his home in a rural area of Nash County.

     
  29.  
    Chris Waddicor in Monmouth Beach, New Jersey

    writes: Evacuating inland about 10 miles to avoid the storm surge. Seems everyone in town has the same plan, glad people are heeding the call.

     
  30.  
    1541:

    Katie, an emergency volunteer in New Jersey, tells BBC News that everybody is taking extra precautions and she has had to stock up on water and food and she says they haven't been able to get a generator. She says that there were massive queues at grocery stores and people were fighting over the last gallon of milk. But as one of the emergency medical staff, even if there is an evacuation she will have to stay in the town.

     
  31.  
    1544:

    President Obama has held a conference call about the hurricane with emergency officials, Reuters reports.

     
  32.  
    Grace Agnew from London is on holiday

    in New York. She writes: We have no idea when we will be able to get a flight out of here seeing as our old one was cancelled yesterday. It is frustrating when airlines don't pick up any phones or give any information.

     
  33.  
    1548:

    PBF Energy says that its two north-eastern refineries were operating normally as the hurricane approached, Reuters reported. But a spokesman said that all cranes and scaffolding had been taken down and vessels in dock removed.

     
  34.  
    The Washington Post Local

    tweets: Officials in Ocean City say hundreds of residents have ignored mandatory evacuation orders ahead of Irene - http://t.co/pYyGMl3

     
  35.  
    1559: Ian Sherwood, BBC Deputy Washington Bureau Chief

    says: "It will be interesting to see what happens when the subway closes down at noon in New York. Having lived there witnessed first-hand how many people rely on it to get around I am curious to see how Gotham reacts to losing it subway completely for a time. It is also impossible to get a cab in Manhattan when it rains when the subway is fully functioning..."

     
  36.  
    1603: Marcus George, BBC News, Washington

    says that the authorities in Virginia are bracing for Irene to strike. They say more than 100,000 residents are now without power. Tornado warnings have been issued for southern Chesapeake Bay.

     
  37.  
    Sam Dolnick of The New York Times

    tweets: Tourists standing forlornly outside shuttered MoMA, looking to get in. Love of art conquers fear of #Irene.

     
  38.  
    Will McDowell from New York

    writes: City Supermarkets are now closing the shutters and won't be open until Tuesday. Heavy rain has just started and the streets are empty, people have taped up their windows. But obviously it's New York, so everyone is loving the drama.

     
  39.  
    1613: Marcus George BBC News, Washington

    Hundreds of cars are lining up outside a parking lot in DC to pick up sandbags given out by the authorities. Washington is expecting high winds and heavy rain late on Saturday and through the night.

     
  40.  
    Todd Kaderabek in North Carolina

    tweets: #Irene took out my friend's tree in Raleigh: t.co/mYRD0A4

     
  41.  
    The Daily's Greg Clayman

    tweets: Am becoming increasing convinced that #Irene is secret stimulus package. Never seen so many people buying so much stuff.

     
  42.  
    1618:

    We have just published this picture gallery of Hurricane Irene's landfall on the US eastern coast. Here people on Virginia Beach point to the waves as the storm approaches. The authorities have repeatedly warned people to stay away from the beaches.

    Virginia Beach visitors point out the waves as Hurricane Irene approaches,Virginia  27 Aug
     
  43.  
    1623:

    The shutdown has begun on New York's subway, AP reports, and the area's five airports have stopped accepting flights. Officials said that it would take about eight hours before all subway and bus lines were finally shut down saying that systems cannot operate in sustained winds higher then 39mph.

     
  44.  
    1630:

    President Barack Obama is visiting the Federal Emergency Management Agency's command centre for Hurricane Irene. The White House says Obama made clear that the hurricane's impact will be felt throughout the weekend and beyond, AP reports.

     
  45.  
    Lori Redman from Gaithersburg, Maryland

    writes: We are in the high risk - not extreme risk - category for Irene's path. People are frantically running into stores to get supplies, cars swerving to avoid pedestrians and such. Personally, we have enough food for our pets and junk food for ourselves, though we're a little worried our power will go out- we're watching Mad Men and we'd hate to be interrupted.

     
  46.  
    1641: Steve Kingstone BBC News, Washington

    I'm seeing boats in the Marina being tethered up. The working assumption is that when Irene really hits New York on Sunday morning, this city could really suffer.

     
  47.  
    1643:

    There have been two storm-related deaths in North Carolina, the AFP news agency reports. The agency says that one man died of a heart attack when boarding up his windows, while another crashed his car into a tree.

     
  48.  
    NYCMayorsOffice

    posting a link to twitpic tweets: These are the kinds of boats used in Katrina. You don't want to end up in one. If you need to evacuate, do so now. http://twitpic.com/6c33qa

     
  49.  
    Justin Kenney, NOAA director of communications,

    tweets: Morehead City NC (my old hometown) rainfall=10.2 inches http://1.usa.gov/p83LDh

     
  50.  
    Tom Sawyer in New Jersey

    writes: We arrived in Newark from London on Saturday afternoon and it seems the residents here are not as concerned as the media would suggest - some are arranging Irene house parties on rooftops and making sure the fridge is stocked.

     
  51.  
    1652:

    The American Red Cross has set up dozens of shelters in the regions in Irene's path. It has created an online map showing their locations. There is also a free iPhone app.

     
  52.  
    1656: Barbara Plett BBC UN correspondent

    Driving through Manhattan at midday, there is no sense of panic, quite a few joggers and bikers still making their along the river

     
  53.  
    1703: Ian Sherwood, BBC Deputy Washington Bureau Chief

    Flight cancellations: according to some reports 3367 are expected today, the figure for tomorrow is thought to be 4970 flights.

     
  54.  
    Paul in New York

    writes: In Manhattan shops are closing and places are being boarded up. We're due to fly to San Francisco tomorrow but our flights been cancelled and the hotels are fully booked but don't know if guests will arrive. If not, we may have to go to a shelter.

     
  55.  
    1704:

    There are some more details from AP of President Obama's visit to the Fema command centre. Dozens of workers wearing red or blue vests with their job descriptions on were manning computer stations. "This is still obviously going to be a touch and go situation for a lot of communities, but knowing that they've got an outstanding response team like this will make all the difference," he said. "Especially because you all are not going to get any sleep for the next 72 hours or so."

     
  56.  
    1712:

    The Atlantic has a comprehensive guide to the best hurricane-tracking tools on the web and includes a link to the National Hurricane Centre's interactive map showing how far inland storm surges could reach.

     
  57.  
    1716: Dave Howard, Newsbeat, BBC Radio 1 in New York

    Just got home to finish weather-proofing the apartment. Had a conversation with a woman from Glasgow earlier who said "Irene couldn't be any worse than what Scotland throws at us". She says she's going to walk the High Line this afternoon, an elevated NYC railway that's been converted into a park.

     
  58.  
    1718: Marcus George BBC News, Washington

    There are still people on the streets of downtown Washington but the wind and rain is slowly intensifying. I'm hearing that more flights into the city's two airports are being cancelled. Meantime, Washingtonians are playing supermarket sweep, stocking up before the worst hits late on Saturday.

     
  59.  
    1728: Some videos of the hurricane in North Carolina

    have been uploaded to YouTube. Napalmbl00t made a compilation video of the storm, ecu9200 filmed loud thunder and strong winds and finally - with a strong language warning - sheffburger takes his viewers on a beach tour.

     
  60.  
    PJ Joshi in New York

    tweets: Lots of people walking around Third Ave, just seeing what's open. Nothing really except a nail massage salon. #irene

     
  61.  
    Kim Severson, Atlanta Bureau Chief for the New York Times

    tweets: Nothing out here on US 17 south of #irene's eye except a hurricane research truck, me and bad weather. http://twitpic.com/6c3tfi

     
  62.  
    1745:

    The hurricane has also caused the cancellation of a number of flights from the UK to the US.

     
  63.  
    1748:

    It is no mean feat to shut down New York's subway system. The New York Times' Michael Grynbaum explains just what this complex process involves.: "Hundreds of workers, dozens of exotic maintenance vehicles, and at least eight hours of preparation," is just the start.

     
  64.  
    1750: British tourist Izzie Waterman in New York

    tells BBC News: "We've just been to the local store and every major shop has been boarded up so we're talking a very affluent area of Manhattan and everybody has been quite stoic about it."

     
  65.  
    Neil Brown in New York

    writes: It's raining here in New York and everything is closing down. Downtown Manhattan is being evacuated. I'm on the Upper East side, it's the lower risk zone as we are more raised. However, one of the buildings at my work has closed as it is predominantly made of glass.

     
  66.  
    1805:

    The largest subway system in the US is shutting down and here, evacuees rush to catch some of the last trains to run through the Times Square station.

    Evacuees rush to catch some of the last subway trains to run thorugh the Times Square station August 27, 2011 in New York City.
     
  67.  
    1810:

    Tropical storm warnings have also been issued for parts of Canada north of the US border as Irene moves north

     
  68.  
    1811:

    Chris Vaccaro of the US National Weather Services tells the BBC News channel that although the storm has been downgraded its impact is not to be underestimated.

     
  69.  
    Monique Guz from Brick, New Jersey

    writes: It has just started raining here. Large chain stores are out of batteries entirely. Bags of ice are unavailable, as are flashlights. There's a rush of people getting plywood before construction shops close. Most of town is boarded up and I am taping up my windows for the next few hours. Two shelters have filled up already.

     
  70.  
    1818: Chris Vaccaro of the US National Weather Service

    has been speaking to the BBC News Channel. He re-iterates the danger to New York pointing out that parts of the city are low-lying - at or slightly above sea level: "Time is running out. That rain is already reaching New York City we have a long road ahead. It is going to be a long wet and windy evening... This is not a storm to take lightly and it is not worth risking your life or health."

     
  71.  
    1820: Steve Bayer from the American Red Cross

    has been highlighting his main concerns to the BBC New Channel. He says he is worried about people "sightseeing", adding that people may stray near downed electrical lines and could be at risk from falling trees. "We're worried about the accidents afterwards," he said.

     
  72.  
    1821: Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey

    says people have largely responded to safety and evacuation warnings and calls. "I think that when the storm is over you are going to be happy that you listened to our advice," he said.

     
  73.  
    1826:

    The Quiksilver Pro New York Surf Competition starts on 1 September, AP reports. It's said to be the first-ever world professional competition held in New York. The agency says that even as the storm approached, some of the pros and practised in the swell.

     
  74.  
    Hadyn Lassiter, in West Haven, Connecticut

    writes: My daughter has been to the shops to stock up - the price of water has doubled in the last couple of days.

     
  75.  
    Dorothy Friedman from New York

    tweets: Neighbors across the canal have their brand new house all boarded up: lockerz.com/s/133408264

     
  76.  
    1839: Ian Sherwood, BBC Deputy Washington Bureau Chief.

    Some reports now suggest that 550,000 homes are without power across North Carolina and Virginia as Irene makes her way up the eastern seaboard of the United States.

     
  77.  
    Nicole Michalek in New York

    tweets: storm-proofing my basement apt, putting everything i cant into plastic bags. i look like a crazy person but not taking any chances. #irene

     
  78.  
    1847:

    A landslide alert has been issued in Connecticut as a result of Hurricane Irene, emergency officials in the state say.

     
  79.  
    Josiah Goodson from North California

    tweets: Can't go two blocks in any direction north of ECU [East Carolina University] without being blocked by huge trees down. Lots of flooding too. #Irene

     
  80.  
    Aniko Czinege in Princeton, New Jersey

    writes: It's all is quiet and eerie. The shops have been packed out, things like torch batteries are sold out. We have been told to stay home until at least Tuesday as they expect all the roads to be blocked by floods and downed trees plus it is expected that the power will be out.

     
  81.  
    1903:

    The New York harbour port status could be upgraded and restrictions cuold be put in place, the US Coast Guard says. " "It depends on how fast the storm moves up the coast," Petty Officer Erik Swanson is quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying.

     
  82.  
    1905:

    Another fatality in this storm: officials say winds toppled a tree and sent it crashing through an apartment building in Virginia, killing an 11-year-old boy, AP reports.

     
  83.  
    Via Twitter Governor Dan Molloy of Connecticut

    Additional urban flooding is possible as heavy rain bands that result in more than 1" per hour move south to north ahead of #Irene

     
  84.  
    1931:

    Some people appear unwilling to leave areas of New York in the line of the storm. City Councilman Michael Nelson, whose Brooklyn district includes Brighton Beach is quoted by the Reuters agency as saying: "My sense is that the majority of the people are staying put," He said about 50,000 people in his district had been ordered to evacuate.

     
  85.  
    1939:

    Insurance adjusters are already moving into some of the areas hit by Hurricane Irene, Reuters reports. Some commentators are quoted as saying that the damage caused is as bad as people feared, but not as devastating as some of the storms to have hit the Carolinas before.

     
  86.  

    Andrew Spender in New York tweets: Boarding up the flat iron building: http://img.ly/7MeF#Irene

     
  87.  
    Gordon MacDonald in Brooklyn, New York

    writes: I've only seen one shop boarding up its windows. People are taking this in their stride - stock up, lock down and ride it out tomorrow. Plenty of folk out running in the rain this morning - marathon training waits for nothing.

     
  88.  
    2000:

    Many of those in the path of the hurricane have been reporting that batteries are selling out rapidly.

    Signs indicating batteries were sold out are displayed in a Northern Virginia supermarket
     
  89.  
    2008:

    More than one million people have left the Jersey shore over the past 24 hours Reuters quotes Governor Chris Christie as saying. But he notes that "there are a few remaining residents who have refused to evacuate."

     
  90.  
    2011: Barbara Plett BBC UN correspondent

    Streets in Manhattan are virtually empty. There is only a trickle of people on the pavement and most of the traffic is taxis. The occasional restaurant and deli are still open, but everything else most is closed. Down in the low-lying Battery Park evacuation zone (where tourists normally board ferries to get to the Statue of Liberty) we saw sandbags and tarpaulins placed on subway grates in expectation of flooding.

     
  91.  
    2022:

    There is consensus that cash is critical in a storm zone and Reuters reports that banks are scrambling to top up cash machines and provide hard currency for people over the next few days. The agency says that some banks stayed open late on Friday night and others considered deploying mobile cash machines.

     
  92.  
    The New York Mayor's Office

    tweets: MTA & and airports shutting down. Ferries have stopped or will soon. Time is running out. If you're in an evacuation area, leave now. #Irene

     
  93.  
    2037: Ian Sherwood, BBC Deputy Washington Bureau Chief

    Hurricane Irene is affecting the start of the US Open in Flushing Meadows, New York. Britain's top tennis player Andy Murray has made some comments when asked if there was any fear for him and if he had taken any precautions: "I think people are right to be pretty cautious about it, because, you know, like we don't see weather like this from the UK. It's never, never this bad...We had to go and get stuff from the supermarket for the room in case\u00a0 well, loads of places are going to be closed. There's a two and a half hour queue at the supermarket, so everyone's taking it pretty seriously," he said.

     
  94.  
    2041:

    The US Coast Guard has shut the port of Philadelphia to all vessel traffic as the storm headed north up the eastern seaboard, Reuters reports.

     
  95.  

    A picture blog called #instacane tells the story of hurricane Irene through pictures taken with Instagram - a photo sharing app which puts filters on their pictures.

     
  96.  
    Kathe M from Washington

    writes: Here in DC, where newscasters have frothed at the mouth over this ridiculous story, it's drizzing. Tonight it will rain a lot and be windy. So what? Sun is predicted for tomorrow.

     
  97.  
    2054:

    Preparations are being made across the eastern seaboard for the onslaught of the hurricane. Here, pool lounge chairs are stored in the pool during the turbulence in Ocean City, Maryland.

    Pool lounge chairs are stored in the pool during Hurricane Irene in Ocean City, Maryland, August 27, 2011.
     
  98.  
    2058: Ian Sherwood, BBC Deputy Washington Bureau Chief

    Rain has picked up pace in Washington DC. I've just popped outside. Feels like a soggy afternoon in my hometown of Hartlepool in the north-east of England at the moment, a regular occurrence in Hartlepool over a Bank Holiday weekend. Winds haven't picked up pace here in Washington DC yet.

     
  99.  
    Sean McCullough in Pawcatuck, Connecticut

    Many local shops have boarded up, supermarkets have sold out of many items and our local supermarket in Westerley, Rhode Island has a whopping great portable generator in the delivery bay in anticipation of power cuts. They have also taken hundreds of pleasure boats out of the Pawcatuck river so all in all, local folks are taking this seriously.

     
  100.  
    2106:

    Out of Miami, AP reports that Irene's winds ease a bit but the hurricane is still a storm as it starts to move over Atlantic waters.

     
  101.  
    2115:

    The National Weather Service said winds were at 80 mph (129 kph), down from 85 mph (137 kph), but with higher gusts, AP reports. The eye of the storm appears to be hugging the border of North Caroline and Virginia as it moves north-east.

     
  102.  
    T Rees Shapiro, Washington Post reporter

    tweets: Water is close to boardwalk in #Rehoboth as #Irene comes closer. Waves snarling.

     
  103.  
    2129:

    ABC news footage has an interview with a New York city resident who is ignoring advice issued by the mayor and refusing to evacuate from his home in Battery Park. Mike Stevens says: "We'll be here, no need to go out, no place to go, every place worse. We were thinking of going to Westchester, it'll be worse there, it's going to be cool here."

     
  104.  
    Barbara Plett BBC UN correspondent

    tweets: NYC's Mayor Bloomberg: Only 1400 people in #Irene evacuation centres; others with friends or family, but many ignoring evacuation orders

     
  105.  
    George Little Pentagon spokesman

    tweeted earlier: SecDef has approved prepare-to-deploy order for 6,500 active duty military (all services) to support Irene relief efforts if ordered.

     
  106.  
    2141: New York Governor Cuomo

    has said that members of the National Guard will be deployed around New York. "They're prepared, they're ready, they're briefed and they'll be on their way shortly.," he said.

     
  107.  
    Dagane Daar in Potomac falls, Virginia

    writes: It is now very windy and raining hard. I'm hoping it won't get worst. I bought bread, milk and canned tuna fish to prepare but I couldn't find flashlights, candles or other battery operated lights in the stores. I resorted to downloading flashlight applications to my mobile so I can use my phone as a flashlight if needed.

     
  108.  
    2146:

    Governor Guomo has also ordered an inspection of a hydro-power dam wnear the Albany suburb after a 2.9 magnitude earthquake struck New York state as the area braced for the hurricane.

     
  109.  
    2151: Michelle Fleury, BBC News, New York

    5th Avenue in a residential corner of Brooklyn was bustling this lunchtime. There were long lines at some of the more popular local restaurants. Families were out and about walking their pets. Many people just wanted to enjoy the calm before the storm. One woman I saw was carrying several plastic buckets. She said she is worried about flooding in her basement. When she went to one of the major home improvement chains on Friday, she told me they were already sold out of items like sandbags.

     
  110.  
    Nina in Madison, New Jersey

    writes: Right now we are experiencing the calm before the storm. We have water, candles and canned foods. The stores had sold out of flashlights, batteries, generators, candles and water. We will wait it out and see how we stand tomorrow.

     
  111.  
    2155:

    Dozens of US navy ships managed to avoid the path of the hurricane by pulling out of the port of Hampton Roads, Virginia, as winds whipped up the high seas, the navy said in a statement. They are now preparing to provide assistance in the wake of the storm.

     
  112.  
    James Fogarty in New York

    writes: We've had to evacuate from our downtown flat to a hotel in mid-town. Sure we were safer with the walk in closets, internal hallway, candles, cupboards full of food and water on the 23rd floor, but Bloomberg and the Condo Building say it's mandatory.

     
  113.  
    The BBC's Katty Kay in Washington

    tweets: Perfect movie weather. It's a wet Saturday in DC, but no more than that for the moment.

     
  114.  
    Muriel Favaro sent us a picture
    empty supermarket shelves

    of empty supermarket shelves in New Jersey this morning.

     
  115.  
    Jordan in Raleigh, North Carolina

    writes: I went east into the hurricane this morning. In Greenville, North Carolina the winds were ripping trees apart. It looked like buckets of water were being dumped from the sky. The raindrops felt like needles stabbing you as the wind blew them horizontally. Visibility was close to zero. Watch out folks in the Northeast... it's coming!

     
  116.  
    Jallah Kennedy from Galloway, Atlantic County, New Jersey

    My family of 11 including six children, two nieces and a grandchild are praying along with family members in Liberia and elsewhere for safety. The rain has started and the wind appears to be picking up. We are following the warnings and will likely evacuate to a Red Cross center as planned. We are also hosting a family friend who was mandatorily evacuated from Atlantic City.

     
  117.  
    2301:

    The three major New York city area airports - JFK, LaGuardia and Newark - will suspend all flights from 2200 EST (0200 GMT) on Saturday, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has announced.

     
  118.  
    Craig Fugate of the Federal Emergency Management Agency

    tweets: Power outages are spreading along #Hurricane #Irene's track. Keep flashlights and battery power radios handy, stay safe

     
  119.  
    2307:

    Irene does not like umbrellas. During my five-minute walk through torrential rain just now to the BBC's Washington bureau, the few other pedestrians out and about seemed to be wrestling with chewed-up brollies.

     
  120.  
    Peter Butkovic from Worcestershire, England

    writes: We are on holiday in New York, staying in a hotel in central Manhattan. Irene has changed our plans as all museums are closed and shows cancelled. Almost all shops are closed, many restaurants too. It has been raining most of the day, it felt like tropical rain as the temperature is around 30C. Shop windows on Fifth Avenue are boarded up - even the Starbucks are closed!

     
  121.  
    2316:

    This fatal car accident in Goldsboro, North Carolina, happened at a junction where traffic lights were not working because of power cuts caused by Irene, reports the Associated Press:

    Fatal car accident in Goldsboro, NC, Saturday 27 August 2011
     
  122.  
    John Morley in New York

    sent us this picture of the famous Bloomingdales on Fith Avenue boarded up.

    Bloomingdales in New York. Photo: John Morley

    "A pretty unusual sight for what should be a busy Saturday shopping afternoon," he said.

     
  123.  
    2332:

    Washington Mayor Vincent Gray says the city's braced for 4in (10cm) of rain and strong winds in the coming hours, and there could be flash flooding.

     
  124.  
    2346:

    An eerily empty Grand Central Station in New York:

    Grand Central Station in New York
     

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