Hurricane Irene battering the seafront in the Dominican Republic
Source: Press TV
Hurricane Irene has left at least seven people dead in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic and destroyed homes in the Bahamas.
In the US, Irene killed three people in North Carolina and one in Virginia, and the hurricane also killed one person in Puerto Rico and two in the Dominican Republic, VOA reported on Saturday.
With sustained winds of 85 miles (140 kilometers) per hour, Irene lost power to become a massive Category 1 storm. It had been a Category 2 storm with winds around 100 miles (over 160 kilometers) per hour.
The hurricane made landfall at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning (1200 GMT) at Cape Lookout near the southern end of a chain of barrier islands in North Carolina.
Its torrential rains and high winds have shut down major highways, airports, and left 630,000 people without power in North Carolina.
About a quarter of a million people were ordered to evacuate from a section of New York by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
Along the East Coast, the train service is on hold. Many flights have also been cancelled.
In the US, warnings are being issued announcing that Irene is still a dangerous hurricane and is not to be underestimated.
On Saturday afternoon, forecasters said the effects of Irene could be felt as far north as Canada even after it loses strength. A tropical storm warning extended from the US border to Nova Scotia's southern coast.
The Red Cross says it is facing one of the greatest aid and rescue missions in its history.