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Don't Look Now, But There's Another Storm in the Gulf

Irene causes record floods, massive power outages.


UPDATE: Sunday, 6:00 p.m.

A tropical storm named Jose formed near Bermuda Sunday with top sustained winds of 40 mph.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center told Reuters the storm was 60 miles west of Bermuda and heading northward over the Atlantic Ocean as of 2 P.M. EST. It is expected to dump as much as 3 inches of rain over Bermuda.

Jose is the 10th named storm of this year's Atlantic hurricane season. It formed near Bermuda just as Hurricane Irene, which was downgraded to a tropical storm, hit New York.

UPDATE: Sunday 12:30 p.m.

New Yorkers should prepare for a hellish commute Monday after deadly Hurricane Irene hit the city with a weaker-than-feared punch early Sunday, but left the MTA scrambling to assess damage and restore service, with no clear idea of when that would be.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg was blunt about the forecast ... for Monday's commute.

“It’s gonna be tough,” hizzoner said. “Tough commute tomorrow, but we have tough commutes all the time.”

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UPDATE: Sunday, 11:00 a.m.

Despite the fact that Hurricane Irene has been downgraded to a tropical storm, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency told CNN on Sunday that the storm is still dangerous.

"For a lot of folks, the danger still exists. We still will have trees coming down, heavy rain, strong winds," FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said. Fugate also said that people should "stay inside, stay safe."

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UPDATE: Sunday, 9:00 a.m.

Hurricane Irene weakened to a tropical storm and made landfall in New York City with winds of 65 miles (105 kilometers) an hour after knocking out power on Long Island and causing flooding in New Jersey.

The storm, so large that its winds and rain began lashing New York late yesterday, moved over the city at about 9 a.m., according to a special National Hurricane Center advisory. The exact location of landfall will be determined by analysis later, the National Weather Service said.

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ORIGINAL POST: Sunday, 6:00 a.m.

New York City - in the path of the storm - emptied its streets and subways - and waited.

For the first time, transportation has been shut down in the city due to a natural disaster.

At least 2.3 million were told to immediately evacuate.

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The hurricane, which has weakened to category one, had an enormous 800-kilometer wingspan and packed wind gusts of 115 miles/h, knocking out power to 900,000 homes and businesses along the east coast, AP reports.

As of Saturday evening, Irene was hugging the U.S. coastline on a path that could scrape every state along the Eastern Seaboard, Reuters reports.

Ed Rappaport, deputy director of the National Hurricane Center in Florida, said it would be a "low-end hurricane, high-end tropical storm" by the time it crossed the New York City area late Sunday morning, Reuters reports.

The five main New York-area airports - La Guardia, JFK and Newark, plus two smaller ones - had their last arriving flights about noon Saturday. Professional sports events were postponed and Broadway theaters were dark.

Although it was too early to assess the full threat, Irene was blamed for nine deaths and is the first hurricane to make landfall in the continental United States since 2008.

An 11-year-old boy died in Virginia when a tree fell on his apartment building, while a 15-year-old girl died in North Carolina in a car crash when the traffic lights failed.

Five of the deaths were in North Carolina, where Irene made landfall early on Saturday morning, before heading up the eastern seaboard.

AP reports:

The hurricane stirred up seven-foot waves, and forecasters warned of storm-surge danger on the coasts of Virginia and Delaware, along the Jersey Shore and in New York Harbor and Long Island Sound. Across the Northeast, drenched by rain this summer, the ground is already saturated, raising the risk of flooding as well as the danger of trees falling onto homes and power lines.

Irene made its official landfall just after first light near Cape Lookout, N.C., at the southern end of the Outer Banks, the ribbon of land that bows out into the Atlantic Ocean. While it was too early to assess the full extent of damage, shorefront hotels and houses were lashed with waves, two piers were destroyed and at least one hospital was forced to run on generator power.

Two men were killed in separate incidents in North Carolina when they were hit by flying tree limb, another person died in the state in a car accident, a passenger died when a tree fell on in a car in Virginia and a surfer in Florida was killed in heavy waves.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told 6500 troops to prepare for emergency relief work, and President Barack Obama visited the Federal Emergency Management Agency's command center in Washington.

"It's going to be a long 72 hours," he said, "and obviously a lot of families are going to be affected."

On Wall Street, sandbags were placed around subway grates near the East River because of fear of flooding and Manhattan appeared near deserted.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned New Yorkers that elevators in public housing would be shut down, and elevators in some high-rises would quit working so people don't get trapped if the power goes out.

"The time to leave is right now," Bloomberg said at an outdoor news conference at Coney Island, his shirt soaked from rain.