Hurricane Irene Puts East Coast On Notice

Originally published on August 26, 2011 11:41 am
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RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, Host:

Hurricane Irene is barreling toward major cities along the East Coast. The storm's path could affect 65 million people, including residents of Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York City. Seven coastal states have declared emergencies, including North Carolina, and big waves are already crashing onto the outer banks, as well as onto Florida's beaches.

MONTAGNE: This storm, which is now a Category Two, whipped through the Bahamas yesterday, flattening homes with winds of up to 115 miles per hour.

GREENE: For more on Irene's projection, we've reached Michael Brennan at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

MICHAEL BRENNAN: The biggest thing we've taken away from the measurements have been the size of the storm and how far out the tropical storm and strong winds go, particularly on the east side of the circulation.

GREENE: Brennan says those winds stretch more than 200 miles from the center of the storm. Airlines are already canceling flights with many more cancellations expected.

MONTAGNE: Here's Mike Brennan again.

BRENNAN: The geography of the coastline, near where New York City is, you know, is an area where a lot of water can be funneled up into a very small area if you get a big surge of easterly flow. So that's an area where the storm surge can be enhanced.

MONTAGNE: Forecasters believe the storm will hit those areas on Sunday, but warn that high winds and rain on its outer edges could arrive sooner. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.