Hurricane Irene claims 11 lives, 4m without power

Added by on August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene as viewed from the ISS on Aug 24 / NASA

Hurricane Irene battered New York and other large US cities at about 5:30am local time (9:30am GMT/UTC) on Sunday. The eye of the storm is currently centred over New York city.

Irene has claimed 11 lives, most the result of flying or falling debris, the victims are primarily in the southwest US and range in age between 11 and 55 years old.

Flooding and debris have affected the delivery of electricity to about 4m people in the storm’s path. Some regions cut power to low lying areas to avert further problems as flooding affected underground electricity delivery systems.

New York city is home to about 8m people, a number of which are under mandatory evacuation orders. The storm was downgraded to a tropical storm on its arrival in the city and rains were not as heavy as expected; however, the East River crested and caused flooding in many areas. As the storm’s eye passes over the region, there are reports of some damage due to flooding and residents that remained in the city are staying indoors. Officials fear however that flooding will worsen as the eye passes and the storms resumes.

Atlantic provinces in Canada are bracing for the storm’s arrival overnight, local time.