New Yorkers Say Good Night To Tropical Storm Irene

Tropical Storm Irene began easing out of upstate New York this afternoon, but not until it succeeded in closing main roadways, and leaving close to 20,000 people without power and pushing the local creek to record heights.

Path of hurricane Irene as it leaves New England.
Irene’s path as it leaves New England

While Irene entered as a hurricane during the night with sustained winds over 30 miles per hour and gusts that reached the 60s, the real damage came mid-morning, police and fire officials received hundreds of calls about downed trees and wires.

While many New Yorkers felt angry that the media, (in their opinion) over-hyped things, others were not so lucky because trees landed on their houses and took out wires, knocking out power and starting fires. As of 2:30 p.m., the National Grid had reports of outages in all but two local towns.

Luckily the Mohawk region of upstate New York didn’t have any reported injuries or fatalities due to Irene, but officials are keeping an eye toward Creeks like Schoharie, which is already a foot over its record depth, and the Mohawk River.

As for the rest of the area, Irene charged into New England on Sunday as a weakened tropical storm after charging through the New York City area leaving a stunned U.S. East coast. At least 16 people died, flooding was widespread and 4 million homes and businesses lost power.

As the surf continued to pound the shores of Long Island near New York City Mayor Bloomberg gave the order to cease the evacuation of residents from low-lying areas.

New England is now feeling the diminished might of the much hyped beast, but officials still consider Irene to be a dangerous storm, because it will cause flooding and winds that could topple trees in over-saturated soil caused by earlier heavy rains. Irene is expected to say ‘Good night’ as it moves over eastern Canada Sunday night.

Forecasters have said Irene, was still a massive and powerful storm, while diminished in strength, it carried sustained winds of 60 mph while it made its long journey up the East Coast. Irene dropped a foot of rain in areas of North Carolina and Virginia. The National Hurricane Center downgraded the storm when its winds dropped below 74 mph, the threshold for a hurricane.

As the center of the weakened beast blew through America’s largest city and Long Island, it caused an 8-foot Atlantic storm surge that entered New York and caused seawater to flow into lower Manhattan.

As of 10:30 a.m., 750,000 people in New York State were without power, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

Russell W. Dickson, lives in upstate NY, and is a Freelance journalist. He has written for both print and online news/opinion pages.Russell holds a B.A. in English, minor Journalism from The University at Albany, Albany, NY. His writing experience spans more than a decade and his work has graced the pages of newspapers, magazines, online news orgs, and political websites in both the U.S. and abroad.