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Hurricane Irene is expected to hit the United States West Coast this weekend and various states are taking immediate action to prepare for the impact. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced today that authorities in New York City (NYC) have ordered a mandatory evacuation of all low-lying areas before Hurricane Irene hits the Coast. The evacuation is estimated to affect more than 250,000 people and could begin when shelters open today at 4:00 p.m. This is the first time ever that NYC has had a mandatory evacuation order. According to Bloomberg himself, the authorities wouldn’t be ordering the evacuation if they didn’t this hurricane had the potential to inflict very serious damage.

Hurricane Irene is expected to hit the United States West Coast this weekend and various states are taking immediate action to prepare for the impact. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced today that authorities in New York City (NYC) have ordered a mandatory evacuation of all low-lying areas before Hurricane Irene hits the Coast. The evacuation is estimated to affect more than 250,000 people and could begin when shelters open today at 4:00 p.m. This is the first time ever that NYC has had a mandatory evacuation order. According to Bloomberg himself, the authorities wouldn’t be ordering the evacuation if they didn’t this hurricane had the potential to inflict very serious damage.

New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority advises that a partial or full shut down of transit services in the NCY area may be necessary as Hurricane Irene approaches the shore. It is anticipated that the authority would begin to stop services 12 hours before the storm arrives at the coast. A shutdown would follow a ten to 12 hour evacuation period that would take place during daylight hours, which is expected to begin this afternoon.

It is estimated that Hurricane Irene could bring storm surges of six to eleven feet above normal sea levels along the North Carolina coast, according to the National Hurricane Center in its 5:00 a.m. update. In Chesapeake Bay the surge could be four to eight feet and on the New Jersey Shore it could surge three to six feet. In addition, high and dangerous waves will ride atop the storm surge.

On Thursday, eight people were injured in Boynton Beach, Florida when a wave estimated to be nine feet high swept off a jetty. Spencer Kinard commented that “It’s not really describable it was like a wall of water. It took me, put me down, and pushed me up against the other rail and I was pretty much pinned there until the water went back out.”

If you are in NYC, you might want to head inland and uphill for the weekend. It is better to be safe than sorry. Depending on the severity, the fallout from flooding could be as bad or worse than the flooding itself. 

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