Geography in the News

Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene caused extensive damage across the Caribbean before making landfall in North Carolina, on the East Coast of the United States. It passed through New York City with relatively limited damage, but caused devastating flooding damage further inland in parts of New York State and Vermont.

Over 65 million people living on the East Coast of the United States from the Carolinas to Cape Cod were at risk. Due to the threat, state officials, as well as ports, industries, oil refineries and nuclear plants, promptly prepared to activate emergency plans; residents in the areas stocked up on food supplies and worked to secure homes, vehicles and boats. States of emergency and hurricane warnings were declared for much of the upper East Coast. Hundreds of shelters were prepared.


Hurricane Irene over the Southern Bahamas on August 24


Gales from Irene affected much of the Eastern Seaboard, extending from Florida to New England and as far inland as Pennsylvania. The winds, combined with soil saturation due to the extreme amounts of precipitation, uprooted countless trees and power lines along the storm’s path, leaving roughly 5 million power customers in the dark nationwide, some for extended periods of time. Coastal areas suffered extensive flood damage followings its potent storm surge, with additional freshwater flooding reported in many areas. The storm spawned scattered tornadoes, causing significant property damage as evidenced by destroyed homes. Throughout its path in the US, Irene is estimated to have caused up to $7 billion in damage (2011 USD) and at least 21 deaths, with the death toll still reportedly rising.


The Path of Hurricane Irene

  Hurricane Irene in pictures.


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