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New York Area Falls Silent as Deadly Irene Unleashes Torrents

Sunday, 28 Aug 2011 10:00 AM


(For more on the hurricane, EXT5 .)

Aug. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Manhattan streets were deserted as Irene barreled into New York City bringing high winds, torrential rain and warnings to stay indoors, away from windows that could shatter from flying debris.

Residents of low-lying areas such as Manhattan’s Battery Park City and Brooklyn’s Coney Island who disregarded Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s mandatory evacuation order faced what is now a tropical storm bringing as much as 15 inches of rain at a time when tides are at a monthly high across the region. Irene made landfall over Coney Island with 65 mph (104 kph) winds, the National Hurricane Center said at 9 a.m.

“We have dozens of crews that are out dealing with flooding conditions,” said Cas Holloway, New York City’s deputy mayor for operations, in a televised interview on WCBS.

The storm, which made landfall in North Carolina yesterday, has killed at least nine people and flooded the Outer Banks. It has left more than 4 million homes an businesses were without power as it churned up the East Coast, according to the Associated Press.

The first hurricane to hit the New York area since 1985 prompted Manhattan residents and tourists to retreat inside apartments and hotels, casting an uneasy quiet on the “city that never sleeps.” Bloomingdale’s department store boarded display windows, Broadway theaters went dark. Pedestrians and vehicles were a rare sight on usually traffic-choked Manhattan streets.

Staying Put

In Long Beach, New York, the ocean breached defense berms and flooded into the town, where thousands of residents have remained despite orders to evacuate. At least one fire has been reported there, News12 Long Island reported, and a seawater surge at least a foot and a half deep is rolling across the island.

“We are completely surrounded by water, but we’re dry,” said A.J. Enos, 25, a Coast Guard veteran, who decided to stay in his two-story home on California Street.

Enos said he’d stocked up on peanut butter, jelly and Budweiser.

In Hoboken, New Jersey, a city of about 50,000 people on the Hudson River across from Manhattan, the river has risen to meet land in parts of the city and water is lapping against the edge and splashing on land.

“We’ve got flooding everywhere and flash floods in all different parts of the state,” New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said today on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday news program.

New York’s mayor is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.

--With assistance from Peter S. Green, Matt Townsend and Joel Stonington in New York and Margaret Collins in Hoboken. Editors: Stephen Merelman, Jerry Hart

To contact the reporter on this story: Henry Goldman in New York at hgoldman@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net

© Copyright 2015 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

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