3:50 p.m. Sunday, August 28

 

High winds will continue all afternoon as Hurricane Irene departs

 

The city has lifted its mandatory evacuation of Zone A and the Rockaways, Mayor Michael Bloomberg just announced.

 

But a tropical storm warning still continues for New York City, according to the National Weather Service. As Hurricane Irene departs, maximum winds are still forecast to be in the 30-40 mile-per-hour range, with gusts up to 55 mph through late afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

 

There were no deaths or serious injuries in the storm, according to Bloomberg. The MTA is beginning to restore service, starting with buses first while the subway lines are assessed.

However, it will take eight hours to get all the trains, buses and rail service back on track, so expect delays.

Con Edison did not sever power to Lower Mahattan, as it warned.

-- Carly Baldwin



9:30 a.m. Sunday, August 28

Hurricane Irene battered New York with heavy winds and driving rain on Sunday, knocking out power and flooding some of Lower Manhattan's deserted streets even as it lost some of its power.

Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm on Sunday morning but was still sending waves crashing onto shorelines and flooding coastal suburbs.

There was about a foot of water in the streets at the South Street Seaport in Lower Manhattan and the tide seemed to be rising, although there was less damage than many had feared.

"It's not bad as we they said it would be. The streets are flooded but not as bad as I thought," said John Harris, 37, who defied an evacuation order and stayed home overnight in the Rockaways. "But I'm going to keep my eye on it. I know how to get out of here if I have to."

Heavy rains and wind forced the closure of three bridges leading to the Rockaways peninsula facing the Atlantic Ocean, and further east on Long Island sand berms built to hold off the flooding and protect coastal businesses appeared to have failed.

Irene was blamed for at least nine deaths in North Carolina, Virginia and Florida as it headed up the East Coast. About 3.3 million homes were without electricity and several million people were under evacuation orders.

Forecasters said Irene still posed a serious threat of storm surge that could raise water levels by as much as 4 to 8 feet in coastal areas from Virginia to Massachusetts. Isolated tornadoes in the New York area were possible.

The storm dumped up to eight inches of rain on the Washington region, but the capital appeared to have avoided major damage. Some bridges were closed but airports remained open and transit operated on a normal schedule.

About 370,000 city residents were ordered to leave their homes in low-lying areas, many of them in parts of Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan.

Flood waters forced officials in Hoboken, just across the Hudson River from Manhattan, to evacuate a storm shelter, the mayor of Hoboken, Dawn Zimmer, said on Twitter.

The Miami-based U.S. National Hurricane Center said Irene's winds dropped to 65 miles per hour (100 km per hour) on Sunday morning but forecast a storm surge of up to 8 feet for Long Island and metropolitan New York. That could top the flood walls protecting the south end of Manhattan.

-- Reuters