Hurricane Irene opened its assault on the Eastern Seaboard on Saturday by lashing the North Carolina coast with wind topping 90 mph and pounding shoreline homes with waves. Farther north, authorities readied a massive shutdown of trains and airports, with 2 million people ordered out of the way.
One of two people rescued from a sailboat, right, uses a line to make their way onto the beach on Willoughby Spit in Norfolk Saturday morning, Aug. 27, 2011 after they and another person were rescued from the boat that foundered in the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. A rescuer, left, waits for s second person to exit the boat.
Jackie Sparnackel has to abandon her van and her belongings near the Frisco Pier after she drove up to see how the storm-battered structure was doing Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011 in Frisco, N.C. Friends tried to tow her out but she was caught in an overwash. Hurricane force winds from Irene were battering the island where power has been knocked out.
A vehicle avoids a downed utility pole on Woodlawn St. as Hurricane Irene hits Greenville, N.C. on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011. Thousands of residents of eastern N.C. are without power as Hurricane Irene moves through the area.
Sandbags line drains along 8th Avenue in New York in preparation for Hurricane Irene, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011, in New York.
A couple of men jump the tape at the entrance of the York Street station of the F train after the last train left the station in the Dumbo neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011. 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.
Pedestrians struggle with their umbrellas in front of the White House as the wind and rain from Hurricane Irene reaches Washington, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011.
President Barack Obama, second from right, watches the progress of Hurricane Irene at Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) headquarters in Washington, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011.
Susie and over 75 other pets are checked into the Red Cross center at Indian River High School to ride out Hurricane Irene, in Dagsboro, Del. Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011.
Charles Foster of Long Neck, Del., relaxes with a book as he joins over 275 other people who checked into the Red Cross center at Indian River High School to ride out Hurricane Irene, in Dagsboro, Del. Saturday, August 27, 2011.
Wreckage lies on the ground after several mobile homes were damaged by winds in New Bern, N.C. on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011 as Hurricane Irene hits the North Carolina coast.
The hurricane force winds of Irene rip the siding off of homes on Nags Head, N.C. late Saturday morning, Aug. 27, 2011.
Jarod Wilton looks at the flood waters rising to his doorstep, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011, in Alliance, N.C., as Hurricane Irene hits the North Carolina coast.
Ron Briethaup, 48, of Buxton, N.C. works to free his fiancee’s truck after it got stuck on a flooded section of Hwy 12 just north of Hatteras Village, N.C. Conditions had been improving so she had gone out to run an errand, but hurricane force winds picked up again with no warning and she became stranded. Briethaup came to the rescue and dug the wheels out by hand as the wind howled at 77 mph. He said, “I knew I could get it out, I sure wasn’t going to leave it here in the middle of the road.”
Pedestrians cross Fifth Avenue in New York while vehicle traffic is light in advance of Hurricane Irene, on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011.
Tourists protect themselves from the rain as they view the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial as the wind and rain from Hurricane Irene reaches Washington, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011. The dedication of the memorial set for Sunday was postponed because of the approaching hurricane.
The Arr-Mac water rescue team from Wayne County maneuvers around a beached boat in the middle of Hwy. 304 Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011 in Mesic, N.C. Hurricane Irene knocked out power and piers in North Carolina, clobbered Virginia with wind and churned up the coast Saturday to confront cities more accustomed to snowstorms than tropical storms. New York City emptied its streets and subways and waited with an eerie quiet. (
A sign warns commuters on the northbound side of the New Jersey Turnpike of the incoming Hurricane Irene as the state braced itself for the storm, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011, Elizabeth, N.J.
Two men use a boat to explore a street flooded by Hurricane Irene Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011 in Manteo, N.C.
Elsa Vasquez, left, puts on her sleep apnea mask as Marta Valdez looks on at Middle School 4 after evacuations occurred in Jersey City, N.J. on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011. The school is one of many shelters open to anyone looking to seek shelter from Hurricane Irene.
The looming threat of Hurricane Irene did not dissuade tourists from visiting Manhattan’s Times Square, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011, in New York. Mayor Bloomberg advised all New Yorkers to prepare as the region girded for wind, rain, and flooding as the storm stood poised to bear down on an already saturated New York state.
A road sign warns of inclement weather caused by Hurricane Irene as a pedestrian crosses Canal St. in front of the Manhattan bridge in Lower Manhattan, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011. Mayor Bloomberg advised all New Yorkers to prepare as the region girded for wind, rain, and flooding as the storm stood poised to bear down on an already saturated New York state.