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Hurricane Irene pounds New York City


09:02, August 29, 2011

Policemen check the damages of the street in New York, the United States, early Aug. 28, 2011. Hurricane Irene made landfall in New York City at around 9 a.m. local time on Sunday as a tropical storm, bringing winds of 65 mph, the National Hurricane Center reported. (Xinhua/Shen Hong)

NEW YORK, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- Hurricane Irene pounded the New York City metropolitan area with furious winds and lashing rain overnight on Sunday but officially arrived shortly before noon as a weakened tropical storm and quickly bringing a surreal calm prompting a collective sign of relief.

One man was reported killed in a fire in the nearby U.S. state of Connecticut and a woman who telephoned she was trapped in her car was later found dead in Salem County in the state of New Jersey, officials said. No major wind damage, deaths or serious injuries were reported in New York City itself.

The first-ever evacuation order for portions of the city was lifted at 3 p.m. local time. Transportation remained at a standstill. New Yorkers, warned not all public transportation would be restored in time, braced for a trying Monday morning commute. Bus services were expected to be the first mass transit restored.

Winds of about 100 kilometers per hour were clocked in the city and city officials warned in mid-afternoon similar gusts could be expected during the rest of the day, although they were generally half that in late afternoon.

More than 1.5 million homes and businesses throughout the area were left by Irene without power, primarily because of downed trees, officials said. Flooding from storm surges and swollen rivers also took tolls.

However, overall damage was described as light to moderate, except for the floods coinciding with high tide and a new moon. Yet, residents were told to stay indoors as the eye of the storm passed the city. Irene moved off to the north-northeast at about 40 kilometers per hour.

The storm had been lumbering up the Eastern Seaboard of the United States the last few days at half that rate, speeding up along the New Jersey Shore in its last hours as a hurricane.
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