New Yorkers are bracing for the worst as Hurricane Irene rages its way up towards the eastern seaboard from North Carolina.

Heavy rains and fierce winds of 100 mph are lashing the coastlines, and the National Hurricane Center is warning of surges of six to 11 feet in North Carolina, and up to eight feet from Virginia to Cape Cod with destructive and life-threatening waves.

Irene remains a Category 2 hurricane as it heads towards New York City, a densely populated city that hasn't experienced a major hurricane since 1938.

Mass transit systems have been ordered to shut down in New York City and Philadelphia 

Earlier Friday, President Obama warned millions of people along Irene's path to take precautions and prepare for the worst. Mayor Michael Bloomberg called for mandatory evacuations of residents in low-lying areas such as the Financial district in lower Manhattan.

While cautious New Yorkers are boarding up windows and stocking up on food and water, expecting power outages, floods, and no transportation for days, some residents expect to ride it out and simply hope for the best.

Nearly 7,000 flights have been canceled due to Hurricane Irene, which is expected to affect millions of people as it unleashes its fury in the next few days.

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