US East Coast and Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene hit the US east coast early on Saturday with driving rain and winds of 85mph. “As it began its journey towards New York City and New England, more than 2 million people were told to evacuate. Millions more were preparing for days of hurricane-force winds, rain, power cuts and disruption in its wake. NewYorkers brace themselves as hurricane Irene hits US coast. Suddenly residents paid attention to the emergency maps put out by City Hall. “Are you in zone A, B or C?” became a question as people consulted the map, which showed which parts of the city Irene could put underwater. Roads out of the city filled with traffic. Broadway shut down as no less than 23 plays and musicals closed their doors. It marked the first time the Great White Way had closed since the terror attacks of 11 September 2001. In effect, New York was being forced to stay indoors. Zoos closed, concerts were cancelled and even the city aquarium whose denizens might welcome a flood shut up shop. Airports shut down as Irene approached, canceling hundreds of flights. Possible rising seawater levels from storm surge and a predicted high tide led to a complete shutdown of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the nation’s largest mass transit system; this included all subways, buses, and commuter rails. The MTA shut down all its services at noon on August 27“, the media reported. “Now, approximately 1 million Americans in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and DC are without electricity . and the mayor of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania has warned citizens that outages could last for days”, the media added. As Irene heads north, that number is likely to grow

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“Hundreds of thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate coastal and low-lying areas along the eastern seaboard. As many as 1 million people have left the Jersey shore. In New York City, Mayor Bloomberg has warned that “we are going to break down doors if we have to enforce the evacuation [in Zone A, near the rivers and ocean]”. According to the National Hurricane Center, Irene has re-emerged over the Atlantic. It is warning that waters are rising in the Virginia tidewater region”, the media added. CNN reports that eight people have now lost their lives. Some locals said: “Central Park is closed. Never seen NY so quiet. All local news reports talking about what ‘might happen’. Seems to me TV stations are just exaggerating to make it all seem more exciting and dramatic than it is! … The queue outside the Trader Joe’s supermarket on 14th Street stretched all the way down the block , filled with a cross section of East Village life from suited-up young office workers to people clad in gym gear to smartly dressed nighthawks … I’m in Central Jersey where, much like the rest of the US, all our power cables are overland and intertwined with trees. Chances of trees falling and the power going off? High. Will the water be turned off? Unlikely … Many love that their life would be like what they see in the movies; But the real life and the movie are two different thing … The past few days in the city have felt a little like a disaster movie. No wonder most people were just waiting nervously for it all to be over.”

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“With Irene’s projected path fixed over much the US East Coast, over 65 million people from the Carolinas to Cape Cod were estimated to be 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, including North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts . In advance of the storm, hundreds of thousands of people evacuated near coastal areas, and hundreds of shelters were prepared. Many gasoline stations in the region reported shortages due to the preparations for Irene . Six Major League Baseball games and one National Football League game were postponed. Despite Irene losing force, downgraded to category 1, storm surges and heavy rains are creating danger of widespread flooding. New York state governor declared a state of emergency on August 26. Obama issued a state of emergency declaration for the New York metropolitan area”, the media reported.

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The experts say: “Hurricane Irene is a North Atlantic tropical cyclone. A Hurricane or tropical cyclone is a storm system characterized by a large low-pressure center and numerous thunderstorms that produce strong winds and heavy rain. The characteristic that separates tropical cyclones from other cyclonic systems is that at any height in the atmosphere, the center of a tropical cyclone will be warmer than its surroundings; a phenomenon called “warm core” storm systems. To be classified as a hurricane, a tropical cyclone must have maximum sustained winds of at least 74 mph (33 m/s; 119 km/h). The SaffirSimpson Hurricane Scale, divides hurricanes into five categories distinguished by the intensities of their sustained winds . Category 1 storms (119153 km/h; 7495 mph) usually cause no significant structural damage to building structures; however, they uproot or snap trees. Storms of Category 2 (154177 km/h; 96110 mph) are strong enough that they can lift a house, and inflict damage upon poorly constructed doors and windows. Category 3 storms (178209 km/h; 111130 mph) cause some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings. Storms of Category 4 (210249 km/h; 131155 mph) produce Heavy, irreparable damage. Total and long-lived electrical and water losses are to be expected, possibly for many weeks.”

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“Category 5 storms (≥ 250 km/h; ≥ 156 mph) cause complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings, and some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. According to Robert Simpson, If the wind speed of the hurricane is above 155 mph (250 km/h), then the damage to a building will be “serious no matter how well it’s engineered”, the experts add. In Iran, we don’t have any cyclone or tornado, and in Tehran, the maximum wind speed is about 70 km/h, that causes many dreadful problems ! So, many Iranians can not understand the meaning of a hurricane, a 140km/h wind, like Hurricane Irene. If we had some thing like Hurricane Irene in Iran, the Mullahs would say: “Oh, the Mahdi’s coming; It’s a sign of the second coming of Mahdi” ! and then the whole country and the whole life would be f-u-c-k-ed and paralyzed for years !

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