Irene Continues to Hammer East Coast, 15 people dead

By: Nate Harrington Email
By: Nate Harrington Email

The evacuation order for New York will be lifted at 3 p.m. Mayor Bloomberg says.


Hurricane Irene has led to the deaths of 15 people in seven states as of Sunday morning:

-- In Prospect, one person was killed in a fire that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said was apparently caused by wires knocked down by the storm.

-- In Volusia County, 55-year-old Frederick Fernandez died Saturday off New Smyrna Beach after he was tossed off his board by massive waves caused by Irene. The Orlando Sentinel reports the high school teacher had a large cut on his head, apparently from hitting the sea floor.

-- In Flagler County, 55-year-old tourist James Palmer of New Jersey died Saturday in rough surf. Family members say they lost sight of him after he waded into the surf in North Florida. He was pulled to shore and his wife attempted CPR, but he was pronounced
dead at the hospital.

-- In Queen Anne's County, a woman was killed when a tree fell on a house and caused the chimney to collapse. Another person in the house was not hurt.

-- A woman who had called police early Sunday for help getting out of her flooded car in Salem County was found dead in the vehicle hours later.

-- In Nash County, a man was killed after a tree limb fell on him outside his home Saturday morning as outer bands from the storm brought near hurricane-force gusts inland.

-- Goldsboro police say a 15-year-old girl died Saturday afternoon after the SUV carrying her and family members collided with another SUV at an intersection where Irene had knocked out power to traffic lights.

-- Authorities in Pitt County say a man was found dead in his home after Irene's winds toppled a tree onto his house.

-- Another man in Pitt County drove through standing water, went off a road and died after striking a tree on Saturday.

-- A mother in Sampson County died Saturday morning when a tree fell on a car carrying her and two family members.

-- A 58-year-old Harrisburg man was killed Sunday morning when a
tree toppled onto his tent, state police said. The man was one of about 20 people at a party on private property in East Hanover Township, Dauphin County, some of whom who decided to sleep outside.

-- Newport News authorities report that 11-year-old Zahir Robinson was killed when a large tree crashed through his apartment shortly after noon.

-- In Brunswick County, a tree fell across a car Saturday afternoon, killing 67-year-old James Blackwell of Brodnax. The driver was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

-- Chesterfield County police say a man died at a Hopewell hospital Saturday after a tree fell on a house that he was in.

-- A King William County man killed when a tree fell on him as he was cutting another tree on Saturday night.


The head of the nation's emergency response
agency says people shouldn't underestimate the danger once
Hurricane Irene passes. Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Craig Fugate says flooding, weakened trees and downed power lines pose a danger even after the storm moves north up the Atlantic Coast. Fugate is urging people not to drive around and sight-see after
the storm has passed through their areas. His advice: Stay inside,
stay off the roads, and let the power crews do their job. Fugate made the round of the Sunday talk shows as the storm moved through New York City and the Northeast.


NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- 9:16 PM

Officials say two people died in the rough surf churned up by Hurricane Irene along Florida's east coast.
The Volusia County Sheriff's Office says 55-year-old Frederick
Fernandez was surfing off New Smyrna Beach Saturday morning when he went under water. Witnesses told deputies he was surfing one minute and was gone the next.
The Orlando Sentinel ( reported that
Fernandez, a high school teacher, had a large cut on his head,
apparently from hitting the sea floor.
Flagler County Sheriff's officials say a New Jersey tourist also
died Saturday in rough surf.
Family members told deputies they lost sight of 55-year-old
James Palmer just after he waded into the surf in north Florida. He
was pulled to shore, where his wife attempted CPR. He was
pronounced dead at a hospital.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- 3:30 PM

A surfer has died off the central Florida coast when he was tossed off his board by massive waves caused by Hurricane Irene.

Volusia County Beach Patrol spokeswoman Tamra Marris said the
55-year-old man was pronounced dead about noon Saturday, shortly
after he was pulled from the water at New Smyrna Beach.

She said the surfer suffered a large head cut after witnesses
said he was thrown over a wave and possibly hit the ocean floor.

She said it is unclear if he drowned or died from injuries. His
name has not been released because his relatives have not been

Lifeguards were reporting waves of up to 7 feet in that area and
10 feet in others.

The death was first reported by The Daytona Beach News-Journal.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. - 3:21 pm
Hurricane Irene made landfall on the Outer Banks of North Carolina about 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday morning, losing some power but still whipping up sustained winds of 85 mph, as it continued its run up the Eastern Seaboard.

The National Hurricane Center said the eye of the enormous Category 1 storm passed over Cape Lookout, with winds slipping a bit from 100 mph overnight, but warned Irene would remain a hurricane as it moves up the mid-Atlantic coast.

At 2 p.m. ET Irene was about 45 miles west northwest of Cape Hatteras, N.C., and about 95 miles south of Norfolk, Va. The storm was moving north-northeastward at 15 mph.

Major developments:

Paramedics in North Carolina say a man was killed outside his home by a tree limb blown down by Hurricane Irene. A driver in Pitt County perished when his car struck a tree on the side of a road Saturday morning. State Highway Patrol officials say they were investigating the fatal wreck and were not sure if it was storm-related.

A falling tree limb killed a third man in Nash County, N.C. An 11-year old boy died in Newport News, Va., after a tree fell on an apartment complex, reports CBS affiliate WTKR.

Wind and rain have knocked out power to more than 497,446 customers in North Carolina and Virginia.

More than 2 million people have been told to evacuate to safer places, and New York City ordered the nation's biggest subway system shut down for the first time because of a natural disaster.

According to Red Cross spokesperson Kate Meier, more than 13,000 people stayed in nearly 150 Red Cross shelters across six states Friday night. More shelters are opening today.

CBS News' Carter Yang reports that airlines have canceled 8,337 flights through Monday, and that number is expected to rise. N.Y.C. airports are shutting down for arrivals at noon Saturday, with last departures expected this evening at 10 p.m. Philadelphia's airport is shutting down tonight at 6 p.m. Circumstances at each airport will determine when flights will resume.

In North Carolina, 269,520 Progress Energy customers and 8,252 Duke Energy customers were without power. In Virginia, Dominion Electric said 219,674 customers had lost power.

North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue said rescuers and damage assessment teams are standing by as Hurricane Irene moves across the state.

Perdue said Saturday that hundreds of National Guard troops and Highway Patrol officers are standing by to help as needed, and Perdue said state officials are ready to do a damage assessment once the weather clears.

Perdue also said more than 80 shelters were available and more than 7,500 people used them overnight.

Two piers along North Carolina's southern Outer Banks have been damaged. Emerald Isle town manager Frank Rush says the end of Bogue Inlet Pier collapsed. In addition, part of the pier behind the Sheraton Hotel in Atlantic Beach has collapsed.

As the storm's outer bands of wind and rain lashed the North Carolina coast, knocking out power, authorities farther north begged people to get out of harm's way. Officials in the northeast, not used to tropical weather, feared it could wreak devastation.

Keeping an eye on Irene

"Don't wait. Don't delay," said President Obama, who decided to cut short his summer vacation by a day and return to Washington. "I cannot stress this highly enough: If you are in the projected path of this hurricane, you have to take precautions now."

A coastal town official in North Carolina said witnesses believed a tornado spawned by Irene lifted the roof off the warehouse of a car dealership in Belhaven on Friday night and damaged a mobile home, an outbuilding and trees.

NEW YORK 8-27-11 2:30 p.m.

New York City officials have started to shut down the mass transit system ahead of Hurricane Irene, the first time it's been closed because of a natural disaster.

Final scheduled runs on all subway and bus lines started at noon.

City officials say it will take about eight hours before the system will be shuttered.

It won't reopen until at least Monday, after pumps remove water from flooded stations.

Even on a dry day, 13 million to 15 million gallons of water are removed from the tunnels deep underground.

The shutdown includes the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and Access-A-Ride.

The transit authority says the systems can't operate in sustained winds higher than 39 mph and say shutting down is a precaution.


WASHINGTON 8-27-11 2:19 p.m.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is telling 6,500 active duty troops to be ready in case there's an order for them to help with Hurricane Irene relief work.

Spokesman George Little says Panetta has issued a prepare-to-deploy order for the troops from all branches of the military if support relief efforts if required.

The request for the possible help came from states in the path of the storm.

Hurricane Irene continues to batter the North Carolina coast with maximum winds of 85 mph as it moves up the east coast.

Coastal portions of North Carolina felt hurricane force winds early this morning, with reports of 90+ mph wind gusts in the Outer Banks.

With landfalling hurricanes come flooding rains, storm surge in coastal areas, and strong winds. But also, severe weather can and does occur in the form of tornadoes. There have already been several tornado reports early this morning, along with thunderstorm wind damage.

There have been no reports of injury or death as a direct result of Irene, but we will keep you posted.

The WCTV PinPoint Weather Team will continue to track Hurricane Irene as it moves into some of the more populated areas of the U.S. and alert you to the changing conditions with the storm.

Please head to our Hurricane Headquarters webpage to participate in the Live Blog or track Hurricane Irene yourself.

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  • by BLOWN OUT Location: OF PROPORTION on Aug 29, 2011 at 06:55 PM
    Man the way the media covered this storm, you woulda thought it was a category 6!! (yes I know theres no such thing)
  • by Surly Location: Grrr on Aug 29, 2011 at 06:41 AM
    We all know this Rick Scott's fault -- have to admit though, he seems to be handling the guilt very well indeed...
  • by Gator on Aug 28, 2011 at 11:29 PM
    What was strange was when CNN said the sustained winds were 100mph but when you flicked over to the Weather Channel they said the maximum wind gusts were clocked at 58 mph. That said, I pray for the storm victims' families.
  • by Anon on Aug 28, 2011 at 03:50 PM
    "We're New Yorkers, we can tough this out". Gimme a break.
    • reply
      by WHO CARES on Aug 28, 2011 at 05:42 PM in reply to Anon
      yea i went to virginia a few months back that was close enough to ny. for me. talking about rude me first you last people on the earth.
  • by Leonardo on Aug 28, 2011 at 09:59 AM
    Like the "massive" earthquake that struck the NE, this Cat 1 hurricane is another overblown media event. The dorks in the NE US are exceeded in their narcissism only by those in the Los Angeles area.
    • reply
      by Go Navy on Aug 28, 2011 at 06:36 PM in reply to Leonardo
      You're quite right. Nothing a nanny government likes more than a faux calamity so they can rush in and save all of us from our own lack of judgment. And to heck with the mandatory evacuations: goverment, tell me how hard the wind's blowing and I'll decide what, if anything, to do about quite on my own.
  • by Wake Up on Aug 28, 2011 at 07:15 AM
    It is totally ridiculous how the media portrays this as "utter devastation" of humongous proportions. I have friends who live along it's eye path and they tell me it was just a lot of rain and some wind. Nothing like the media portrayed it. I believe that is why lots of folks didn't evacuate before Katrina hit. Nobody listens to the hype anymore. Remember the little boy who cried wolf all the time?
  • by Read Between The Lines on Aug 27, 2011 at 04:45 PM
    Hurricane Bust. The mainstream media was hoping this would be Obama's Katrina so they could vindicate our fair leader. They were usual.
  • by Anonymous on Aug 27, 2011 at 03:36 PM
    Most over-hyped hurricane in American history.
    • reply
      by Input on Aug 28, 2011 at 04:00 PM in reply to Anonymous
      It seem that way!!!
      • reply
        by big shady on Aug 29, 2011 at 06:53 PM in reply to Input
        holy hell you arent lying! I dont want to ever hear that name again!!!!!
  • by OneMoreThing on Aug 27, 2011 at 02:05 PM
    Only a category 1, well I am so sorry for the lose of lives.
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