Hurricane Irene has left the U.S. East Coast but the update in the aftermath reveals a path of destruction, as the storm plodded along 1,100 miles of coastline while inflicting whipping and drenching impact. Clean will likely take months, and damage could near $20 billion in all.
Also, the number of power outages eclipsed four million up and down the East Coast., and as many as 11 lives were claimed.
But the city which feared the worst -- New York -- was spared from what could have been complete disaster. On Monday, New York was back in business, as subways resumed service and buses began running in the city. Commute traffic is lighter than normal as many in the region still lack power and others who fled remain out of town, but it was a quick turnaround for New York.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority announced that limited service resumed across the area at 5:40 a.m. Metro-North Railroad, which serves New York's northern suburbs, remains closed early Monday because of flooding and storm-related damage. Otherwise, trains were up and running Monday, putting New York back in business. On most weekdays, New York's subways carry as many as eight million passengers per day.
The subway is running very well. I can't believe it, they did a great, Domonic Cecala, who took an E train from the city's west side to lower Manhattan Monday morning, told The Associated Press. If they hadn't stopped the trains on Saturday, it would have been a mess.
Trains were only one-third as crowded as normal at 7 a.m. The E train arriving at New York's Port Authority bus station was sparse, with many open seats, but it filled more after stopping at the station as commuters from New Jersey who rode operating NJ Transit bus lines into the city hopped on, making the commute to Lower Manhattan for the work day.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg shut the city down Saturday in advance of Hurricane Irene in an unprecedented move. City subways and bus lines closed through early Monday morning. Evacuation orders in place for Lower Manhattan were lifted Sunday afternoon.
The New York Stock Exchange is also planning to open as usual Monday morning.
New York's MTA said it expects service to return to near normal by Monday on six on the Long Island Railroad's 11 branches but that riders can expect some cancellations. Also, most New Jersey Transit trains remain out of action on Monday, further lessening traffic into New York.
PATH trains back and forth from the city to New Jersey are operating on schedule, however.
The center of Irene pass over New York's Central Park Sunday at mid-morning as the tropical storm, no longer a hurricane after hitting Long Island at hurricane strength, was packing winds of 65 miles per hour. Damage to New York was considerably less than feared, however, as the storm's easing and city preparations in advance mitigated damage.
But others aren't as lucky as New York, as Irene's path inflicted heavy damage from North Carolina to New Jersey and beyond. In New Jersey, storm surge from the Atlantic and heavy rainfall caused severe flooding. Long Island, New York, which took impact from Irene at hurricane strength, had hundreds of thousands left without power and large numbers of trees down and strewn about.
The worst damage from Hurricane Irene was in North Carolina, however, where the storm made first landfall, becoming the first hurricane to strike the U.S. since Ike in 2008. Irene made landfall near Cape Lookout, N.C. on Saturday, in the Outer Banks, with storm surges of about eight feet.
Almost half a million residents were left without power and five people were killed in North Carolina from Irene. Damage in North Carolina could total more than $500 million, one official said.