President Obama went to the airwaves early Friday urging people to prepare for an apocalyptic nightmare that could strike the East Coast this weekend as Hurricane Irene encroaches across America.
Issuing a warning on Friday morning, the president urged Americans to take heed of what he says will go down as a
that will prove to be both extremely dangerous and costly.
“I cannot stress this highly enough. If you are in the projected path of this hurricane, you have to take precautions now. Don’t wait. Don’t delay,” said Obama.
Up and down the Mid Atlantic and into New England, shops and homes are being vacated and boarded up as Americans prepare for what could prove to be cataclysmic. The projected path of Irene stretches across an area inhabited by around 65 million people and winds in excess of 100 mph are expected as the hurricane blows in. While residents of lower states are particularly at risk, analysts at Popular Mechanics magazine predict that winds could cause 1billion pounds of seawater to land into New York City and expect waves of up to 15 feet high. They add that nearly 3,000 miles of roads in Brooklyn and Queens could be flooded, and it would take less than an hour for the NYC subway system to be flooded as well. Workers in New York are already preparing to shut-down the largest mass transit system in America, which is expected to go offline starting at noon on Saturday.
“One of my greatest nightmares was having a major hurricane go up the whole Northeast coast,” Max Mayfield, the National Hurricane Center’s retired director, said to The Associated Press this week. “This is going to be a real challenge … There’s going to be millions of people affected.”
While meteorologists up and down the East Coast are urging Americans to prepare, one warming came Thursday from a rather peculiar location: space. Speaking to SPACE.com during a video interview from the International Space Station, NASA astronaut Mike Fossum said Hurricane Irene looks “terrifying from above.”
“You know that is a powerful storm, and those are never good news when they’re headed your way. So our prayers and thoughts are with the people in its path,” Fossum added.
Off of the mainland, the US Navy has already taken more than two dozen ships and submarines out of its Norffolk, Virginia naval base in fears that Irene could cause detrimental damage to their fleet. Another 200 aircraft were also expected to be moved out of the path of Irene, the Naval Air Force Atlantic announced on Thursday.
Waves nearly 10 feet tall have already splashed onto the coast of North Carolina and a handful of people have already suffered storm-related injuries in the American south. States of emergency have been declared in six states on the East Coast, though the storm has yet to actually blow through.