Even as rains and wind from Hurricane Irene's path began to lash the coast of North Carolina Friday, much of the Eastern seaboard braced for the massive storm as it targeted such major cities as New York and Boston Sunday morning.
Roughly 29 million people were under a hurricane warning Friday evening as the Category 2 storm packing 100 mph winds threatened some of the most heavily-populated cities in the nation.
In terms of size, Irene was larger than Hurricane Ike that devastated Galveston and much of the Houston area in 2008.
Before Irene hit Virginia, its effects claimed the life of a victim, with at least 15 deaths were reported on the East Coast, including two in New Jersey, reported on Sunday.
In total, more than two million utility customers were without power Sunday morning due to Irene, including more than 20,000 in New York City.
The Associated Press reports, more than 4 million homes and businesses were without power Sunday morning as Hurricane Irene continued to roar up the East Coast and took aim at the New York City area and New England.
From the Carolinas to Maine, tens of millions of people were in the path of Irene, which howled ashore in North Carolina on Saturday, dumping torrential rain, falling trees and knocking out power.
Mayor Bloomberg warned New Yorkers Irene was a life-threatening storm and urged them to stay indoors to avoid flying debris, flooding or the risk of being electrocuted by downed power lines.
At the moment the strongest winds are expected to arrive in the early evening tomorrow. It is expected to be a category 1 storm. The full brunt of the storm — if you are in its way — is a lot more powerful than any of us, Bloomberg said.
Heavy rain and strong winds from Hurricane Irene arrived in Rhode Island on Sunday morning, knocking down trees and power lines and leaving 155,000 customers of National Grid, the state's electricity supplier, without electricity.
The last hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. was Ike, which pounded Texas in 2008, experts say.
Although, this storm is reportedly moving to the west-northwest near 10 mph, with an expected turn toward the northwest on Wednesday.
East Coast residents are stocking up on bottled water and plywood, and this week Hurricane Irene began trending on Twitter, with many users sharing updates on the storm's progress while others hoped it wouldn't come their way.