Hurricane Irene downgraded to a tropical storm Sunday, making landfall in Coney Island, N.Y., sending sea water running across boardwalk and down some low-lying streets in Manhattan and other boroughs, as well as power outages.
Irene made landfall at about 8:45 a.m. with winds that were around 65 mph. About two hours later, blue skies are slowly peaking through in Manhattan.
Although Irene has weakened, authorities along the East Coast are taking no chances with its strong winds, and have warned that its impact wasn't fading.
Do not leave your homes. ... It is still not safe, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Sunday morning, as reported by CNN. We've got flooding everywhere and flash flooding in all different parts of the state.
New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's Web site, which has been steadily offering updates all morning, noted that some 370,000 people are without power statewide. This breaks down to:
- LIPA: 204,030
- Con Edison: 70,611
- Queens: 24,877
- Staten Island: 16,688
- Westchester: 16,124
- Bronx: 6,668
- Brooklyn: 6,252
- NYSEG: 42,311
- Orange & Rockland: 26,862
- Central Hudson: 21,312
- National Grid: 5,083
Cuomo also said the north tube of the Holland Tunnel — New York to New Jersey direction — is closed because of flooding. Authorities will be diverting vehicles to the Lincoln Tunnel.
Water also jumped the banks of New York City's East River early Sunday but has reportedly receded later on.
On a wider scale, officials have said Irene knocked out power to more than 3 million people. The storm is also being blamed for at least 11 deaths in four states because of the beating it has been putting on some of the biggest cities in the Northeast.
Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told CNN that in New York City, the flooding's greatest impact may be far from view.
The challenge of New York is that so much of the electricity and other infrastructure is below the surface, he said.
He said flooding could leave the city that never sleeps at a standstill even after waters recede.
The city's subway and mass transit system closed at noon on Saturday.
Ahead of Irene's arrival Mayor Michael Bloomberg said subways weren't likely to be reopened on Monday. Without a functioning subway system, New York would remain at a virtually standstill.
Bloomberg had issued a mandatory evacuation of all New Yorkers living in Zone A areas, including Brooklyn's Coney Island and Manhattan Beach, Far Rockaway in Queens, low-lying areas on Staten Island, and Manhattan's Battery Park City by 5 p.m. Saturday. Some 350,000 New Yorkers have been ordered to evacuate, and Bloomberg said about 14,000 have sought shelter in emergency housing provided by the city.
Nearly, 5,000 flights have been canceled in anticipation for Irene's arrival.