Though it has weakened much people are still worried about Hurricane Irene path. Meanwhile Chesapeake Bay Bridge has been closed due to strong winds and heavy rains.
Hurricane Irene hit the coast of North Carolina this morning as a category 1 hurricane with maximum wind speed of 85 miles per hour. All through the night wind speeds had been high and rain had lashed the eastern seaboard.
Maryland, North Carolina, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Connecticut have all declared emergencies.
â€œA lot of the roads are impassable because of the flooding,â€ Allen Smith, police chief at Atlantic Beach said in an interview. â€œThe worst of the storm hasnâ€™t gotten here yet.â€
The center of the storm hit Cape Lookout about 7:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. The Sheraton Hotel at Atlantic Beach, which is about 15 miles from the cape, had part of its wooden pier washed away while the waves lashed the rest of hotel.
The core ofÂ the storm would pass over North Carolina coast today, according to the centerâ€™s forecast. It would then travel over the mid-Atlantic coast tonight and reach southern New England tomorrow. Irene is the most powerful storm to hit the Northeast since Hurricane Gloria in 1985. More than 65 million people may lie in the trajectory of the storm. Governors of states lying in the path of the storm have declared emergency and evacuations have been ordered in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and Atlantic City in New Jersey.
The storm will bring heavy rain and constant wind to North Carolina for up to 24 hours which will lead to flooding, Governor Bev Perdue told media persons yesterday.
â€œItâ€™s still a powerful storm,â€ Ernie Seneca, a spokesman for the North Carolina Emergency Management Division, said in a telephone interview.
There are widespread reports of power outrages, Seneca added. Nearly 200,000 customers of Raleigh-based Progress Energy reporting were without electricity the companyâ€™s spokeswoman Julia Milstead said in a telephone interview.