DAYS before the expected arrival of Hurricane Irene, New York has already declared a state of emergency as citizens are advised to take warnings seriously and prepare to evacuate low-lying areas of the city.
A short time ago, the National Hurricane Centre in Miami issued an update saying Irene had maximum sustained winds of 185kph and was tracking north-north west towards the US mainland at 22kph.
A hurricane watch has now been called for areas from North Carolina up to New Jersey.
The Hurricane Centre warned there would be an “extremely dangerous” storm surge felt along the north east coast of the USA, with waters raised up to three metres and “life-threatening waves”.
“Preparations to protect life and property to be rushed to completion,” the Hurricane Centre said.
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg said consideration would be given to evacuating people from low-lying areas in the five heavily populated urban boroughs of New York, but particularly in flood-prone Queens.
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US Navy, residents prepare to evacuate as Hurricane Irene grinds closer | Herald Sun