Irene Whips, Soaks Tri-State; Hundreds of Thousands Without Power Amid Flooding

Irene arrived in NYC as a tropical storm

An update to this story can be found here.


A weakened Hurricane Irene arrived in New York City Sunday morning as a tropical storm, lashing the tri-state with furious flooding rain and howling winds that toppled trees and caused hundreds of thousands to lose power.

Reports of deaths and injuries began emerging after Irene passed. In Spring Valley, N.Y., a man in his 50s was electrocuted when he tried to help a child who had gone into a flooded street with downed wires. The five-year-old child was in very serious condition.

A firefighter attempting a water rescue was in critical condition in New Jersey, where "record-breaking" inland river flooding is expected, Gov. Chris Christie said.

Irene, which left at least 23 dead in its path of destruction up the East Coast, made landfall just before 9 a.m. in New York City, arriving first in Coney Island, which was one of the areas under a mandatory evacuation.

The evacuation order for low-lying city areas was lifted at 3 p.m.

Some 370,000 people live in the parts of the city that were told to evacuate. Many refused to go on Saturday but officials have not said how many people got out.

Mass transit was shut down citywide ahead of Irene's arrival, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo and MTA Chairman Jay Walder announced Sunday night subway service would resume at 6 a.m. Monday, though likely with delays and extra crowds. PATH trains will be up and running at 4 a.m., and Metro-North and NJ Transit remain suspended.

"I think it's fair to say you're going to have a tough commute in the morning," Mayor Bloomberg said.

As sunshine appeared in some parts of the area after Irene moved on, storm surge was the main concern, primarily on the south shore of Long Island, Brooklyn and Queens, where some seaside homes in Broad Channel collapsed.

The storm surge in Lower Manhattan was not as severe as expected because Irene tracked slightly further east, although flooding closed the FDR Drive in both directions, except between East Houston to 34th streets.

The Tappan Zee Bridge is also closed because of flooding.

On Long Island, water rose in the streets and storm drains overflowed, flooding roadways and grass already saturated by this month's rain.  In the Hudson Valley, more than a foot of rain made roads impassable including the New York State Thruway and flooding forced hundred from their homes.

Hundreds of thousands are without power.


  • Central Park clocked a wind gust of 60 mph and nearly 6.7 inches of rain, and LaGuardia Airport measured a gust of 67 mph. More than 400 trees are down around the city. The city's highest rainfall was 6.8 inches in Gravesend, Brooklyn.
  • Con Edison said about 71,665 customers across the five boroughs were without power as of 10 p.m. Sunday. Check Con Edison's storm center outage map for the latest. Officials said power was likely to be restored by Tuesday.
  • Some 10,000 people spent the night in city shelters, officials said.
  • Utility officials shut off 10 miles of steam lines in Lower Manhattan, fearing cold water flooding could burst hot lines. Bloomberg said affected buildings, which include offices, apartments and hotels, should have service back by Tuesday.
  • The city closed three major crossings in the Rockaways overnight due to high winds, but by Sunday afternoon, all were open.
  • The Belt Parkway is closed in both directions at Bay 8th Street.
  • Kennedy and Newark airports will open for arrival Monday at 6 a.m., and departures will start at noon. LaGuardia opens to both arrivals and departures at 7 a.m.
  • In Queens, an unoccupied summer home on a Broad Channel pier collapsed into the water. No one was hurt.
  • In Staten Island, firefighters were dispatched to rescue 63 people from flooded homes.


  • Irene first made landfall in the tri-state Sunday morning in Little Egg Inlet with winds of 75 mph.
  • PATH trains reopen Monday at 4 a.m. with full rush-hour service.
  • A woman who called authorities for help with her car on a flooded road in southwestern New Jersey near Philadelphia was found dead, state police said.
  • Newark Airport will open at to arriving flights at 6 a.m. Monday.  Departures will resume at noon.
  • Atlantic City Electric says it has about 103,000 customers without power. PSE&G reports about 365,000 customers out. Jersey Central Power and Light has more than 2398,000 customers out. The power companies say it could take several days to restore everyone's service.
  • New Jersey's highest rainfall as of 1 p.m. was 10.2 inches, recorded in Wayne.
  • Hoboken's evacuation order has been lifted, but officials suggest residents do not return until Sunday evening because of widespread flooding.
  • The lower level of the George Washington Bridge has reopened.
  • The Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in Lacey Township was shut down. The plant, the nation's oldest, is a few miles from the Jersey Coast.


  • Suffolk County recorded gusts of 71 mph in East Moriches, N.Y., and 6.8 inches of rain in Northport.
  • The Long Island Power Authority is reporting about 461,000 power outages.
  • Water poured into the streets of Babylon from Great South Bay and was more than 1 foot deep in some places. Trees were knocked down in Copiague, causing electrical wires to spark.
  • Nassau County reported numerous downed trees and power lines, creating possible dangerous situations. LIPA said they are dealing with the most number of power outages since Hurricane Gloria hit in 1985.
  • Nassau County ordered mandatory evacuations for everyone south of Sunrise Highway between Queens and Rockville Centre, and south of Merrick Road from Rockville Centre to the Suffolk border.
  • Residents in low-lying areas on the North Shore were also under a mandatory evacuation order. In total, about 250,000 people were affected.
  • A mandatory evacuation order was issued for Suffolk, Fire Island, Babylon, Brookhaven and Islip. Suffolk County asked for voluntary evacuations in all Suffolk coastal areas.


  • Two homes collapsed Sunday on Fairfield Beach Road in Fairfield, and three more homes in the area have structural damage.
  • One person has been killed by a fire in Prospect; officials believe it was caused by downed wires as a result of Irene's high winds.
  • More than 700,000 power customers -- or about half the state -- were without power. Connecticut Light & Power reported 621,000 customers without power, and United Illuminating says 107,000 have outages.
  • Gov. Dannel Malloy said 2,000 telephone poles were damaged along with hundreds of cell phone towers.
  • Metro-North was seeing widespread flooding, with water above the rails at several stations, including Valhalla on the Harlem line and Cortlandt and Ossining on the Hudson line. Trees are down all along the New Haven line, interfering with signal power.
  • Fairfield County had 7.4 inches of rain.
  • Tractor-trailers are banned on all Connecticut roadways.
  • The Merritt and Wilbur Cross Parkways are closed.
  • Connecticut's hurricane emergency information is here.
  • About 1,600 people spent the night in shelters.


  • Yonkers reported 8.2 inches of rain.
  • More than 38,700 people were without power.


  • Parts of the Thruway were closed because of flooding as deep as 3 to 4 feet of water. Southbound lanes were closed for 137 miles from exit 24 in Albany to exit 12 at West Nyack. Northbound lanes were shut for 90 miles from exit 8 in Westchester County to exit 20 in Saugerties.
  • A woman apparently drowned after she fell into Onesquethaw Creek in New Scotland, near Albany.

An earlier version of this story can be found here.

You can keep an eye on the forecast through our interactive radar, and stay with NBC New York on Twitter @NBCNewYork and Facebook/NBCNewYork.

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