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Posted at 06:03 PM ET, 08/27/2011

Hurricane Irene live updates: Surfer, child die in Irene-related accidents; death toll at 7

More than 800,000 without power in Va.; D.C. and Md. also seeing outages

Surfer, child die in Irene-related accidents; death toll at 7

Capital Weather Gang: The latest on Hurricane Irene’s path

Get the latest on the Washington region here


Large waves driven by Hurricane Irene crash through the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier at 15th street in Virginia Beach. (L. Todd Spencer/AP)

Hurricane Irene has the makings of a historic storm, President Obama announced Friday. Irene made landfall Saturday morning near Cape Lookout, N.C. Evacuations have been ordered from the Carolinas up to New York, with state of emergencies being declared in Washington, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and other East Coast states. We’ll be following the hurricane as it makes its way further north. Check out the hurricane tracker here, or see our latest updates below:


10:10 p.m. Latest on power outages

Hurricane Irene has reportedly knocked out power to more than 800,000 in Virginia.

Utility employees worked quickly to restore power outages Saturday night, but thousands of homes and businesses were still out of power as heavy wind and rain from Hurricane Irene battered the Washington area.

More than 52,000 customers in Anne Arundel County were out of power as of 10 p.m., according to Baltimore Gas and Electric, which also reported 12,000 outages in the Baltimore area. Overall, some 76,500 BGE customers were out of power. But the company reported that it had managed to restore power to an additional more than 25,000 customers since the storm began Saturday morning.

Meanwhile, more than 4,000 District customers were out of power, according to Pepco. But that was less than half of outage numbers reported earlier Saturday.

More than 30,000 outages were reported in Prince George’s County, while another 1,000 in Montgomery County. In Virginia, Dominion Resources was reporting nearly 900,000 outages, including about 28,000 in northern Virginia.

Outages were expected to increase throughout the night as the storm drew closer to the region.

■ Pepco: Nearly 31,000

— Prince George’s: 27,000

— DC: 4,100

— Moco: 800

■ Dominion: 897,000 in Va and N.C.

— Northern Va:  27,800

— Richmond: 375,900

— Southeastern Va: 336, 172

■ BGE:  about 75,000

— Anne Arundel: 52, 000

— Calvert: 4,376

— Prince George’s: 3,400

— Montgomery: 400

— Howard:350

You can see a map of Dominion Virginia Power’s outages here.


06:44 p.m. Live-blogging hiatus

We’ll be wrapping up the blog for the evening unless major breaking news happens. Keep track of the homepage for immediate updates, and live dispatches from our reporters for Washington-area news. Below is the latest projection of the storm moving over North Carolina. See you bright and early, tomorrow!
(NOAA)


06:26 p.m. Child dies after Irene knocks out traffic lights; Surfer dies in Florida waves

A child died at a Goldsboro, N.C. intersection in a car crash after the storm knocked out power to the traffic light, the Associated Press reports. Several other people were taken to the hospital after the crash.

A surfer hit his head after falling from his board in the storm-tossed waves near New Smyrna Beach, Fla. The beach patrol spokewsoman Tamra Marris said Frederick Fernandez, 55, may have hit the ocean floor and he was pronounced dead shortly after being pulled from the water. The Daytona Beach News Journal reported he was a popular math teacher at the New Smyrna Beach high school.

It brings the death toll to 7 people on Saturday. Another child died in bed after a tree fell onto an apartment building in Newport News, Va. Three men died in North Carolina — one by a falling tree limb, one of a heart attack when he was installing protective plywood to his home, and one when he lost control of his vehicle. A person died in Virginia when a tree feel onto a car.


06:00 p.m. Flash flood warnings for Washington region, curfew set in parts of Virginia

There is a flash flood warning set for the core area of the DC area. Despite some initial confusion after a rumor spread on Twitter that Washington would declare a curfew, Mayor Vincent Gray announced that there was no curfew, nor would there be any curfew in Washington.

However, a curfew was set for the cities of Portsmouth and Hampton in Virginia. Officials in Portsmouth asked no one to be out on the road from 8 p.m. until 8 a.m. In Hampton, the curfew was set for 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.


05:21 p.m. Wind picks up in Washington region

The Capital Weather Gang, as per usual, has great up-to-the-minute weather updates for the Washington region. They just reported that Hurricane Irene will remain a Category 1 hurricane as it moves up the coast. Wind gusts as of 5 p.m. are as follows: Reagan National - 35 mph, Fredericksburg, Va. - 44 mph, Richmond, Va. - 56 mph, Williamsburg, Va. - 69mph.


05:08 p.m. No evacuation plan for Riker’s Island

On the New York City evacuation map, amid a sea of low-laying zones that may need to evacuate if flooding occurs, one island is marked white — or safe. That island, though, is still at risk of flooding, New York Magazine points out. The reason it’s not marked for evacuation? There is no hypothetical evacuation plan for the roughly 12,000 residents of the island — all inmates at Riker’s Island.


05:00 p.m. Pets in the storm

To accommodate man’s best friend in the storm, cities and states have opened cabs and shelters to pets. All evacuation centers in New York and New Jersey are required to take animals, as are all taxi cabs.


Julia Mixon and her dog Dozier walk the streets during strong winds in downtown Virginia beach. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)


04:47 p.m. Twitter resources

Twitter resources. To track governors and mayors updating live on Twitter, follow this list here. And the Post’s Ed O’Keefe points us to FEMA’s region-specific handles: @FemaRegion1, @FemaRegion2, @FemaRegion3, @FemaRegion4. Follow them according to the area you live in on this map:



04:01 p.m. A second death reported in Virginia

A tree feel on a car in Brunswick County, killing an occupant inside, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. A child died earlier on Saturday as a result of Irene. Three people also died in North Carolina.


03:50 p.m. Mayor Bloomberg: Subway won’t be restored until Monday

At his second press conference Saturday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said subway service won’t be restored until late Monday. The city’s subway system shut down today at noon. “You should plan on a commute without mass transit Monday morning,” he said. Nearly 8.5 million people use the transit system in New York each weekday.


03:04 p.m. Obama declares a state of emergency in Maryland; power out in parts of Virginia, Maryland


Home Depot employees, Richard Howell, left, and Farid Elattar, right, load up emergency generators for Virginia Beach residents . (Steve Helber/AP)

President Obama declared a state of emergency in Maryland just as the outer edges of Irene hit the Delmarva area.

The Post’s Brian Rosenthal reports on the large amount of power outages in Virginia and Maryland. Over 630,000 homes are without power when outages from North Carolina are factored in:

More than 260,000 homes and businesses in Virginia and Maryland were without power early Saturday afternoon as Hurricane Irene moved northward and began to affect the Washington area. Most of the outages were in southeastern Virginia and Richmond, where about 180,000 and 50,000 customers were out of power, respectively, said Le-Ha Anderson, a spokeswoman for Dominion Resources. Outages in Maryland and northern Virginia were smaller but climbing.

Just 300 Pepco customers were out of power at 2:45 p.m. But company officials are bracing for “widespread” outages later Saturday as the storm moves north, said Bob Hainey, a spokesman for the company, which services 778,000 customers in the District and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. Baltimore Gas and Electric reported more than 2,200 outages as of 2:45 p.m., mostly in Anne Arundel County. All three companies have called in hundreds of extra workers from out of state to respond to outages, although they will not be able to go in the field until the height of the storm passes.

Anderson said residents should be prepared to be without power for more than 24 hours. “This is a massive storm,” she said.

In Western Maryland, officials were not expecting any significant outages until between midnight and 6 a.m. Sunday.

“Everything is staged,” Potomac Edison spokesman Todd Meyers said. “Now we just gotta see where the storm hits.”

(Share this story with the permalink here.)


03:00 p.m. Eldery refusing to leave Atlantic City, Gov. Christie says

Gov. Chris Christie gave a press conference to update on preparations for Irene in New Jersey. He said most people have evacuated Atlantic City, though there are some elderly residents who have not left, fearing to leave their homes behind. Buses are headed to the city and the plan is to send emergency workers to the homes, to attempt to persuade the residents to leave before the full force of the storm hits. He also reminded people that the best thing for the Jersey Shore would be if no people were on the Jersey Shore.


02:30 p.m. Child killed in Newport News, Va.

A child was killed Saturday when a tree split and fell on a Newport News apartment building, Wavy 10 reports.

A city spokesperson said the 11-year-old boy was prononced dead on the scene, the AP reports. The mother of the child, who was between the ages of nine and 11 years old, reportedly came out of the building and said, “Where is my baby, where is my baby?”

A mandatory evacuation order was issued for low-lying parts of that town Friday.

Watch Wavy’s report below.

Child dies after tree falls in NN: wavy.com


02:00 p.m. Third storm fatality reported

A third Hurricane Irene-related death has been reported. Authorities said a 21-year-old man was driving home in Pitt County when he ran off the road early Saturday, WITN reports.

A man was killed by a tree limb while feeding his livestock early Saturday. Another man died from a heart attack while trying to put plywood on his home’s windows.


01:25 p.m. Tornado watches issued in Delaware, Maryland

As if the prospect of high winds and heavy rain weren’t enough to worry East Coasters, the National Weather Service has issued tornado watches in parts of Delaware, Maryland, southern New Jersey and southeast Virginia. The watches expire at 8 p.m. ET.
Tornado watches issued until 8 p.m. ET. (NOAA.)

The Post’s T. Rees Shaprio reported hearing a tornado warning siren in Rehoboth, Del. A small tornado damaged homes in Sandbridge, Va., the Virginian-Pilot reports.


01:21 p.m. Bridges, tunnels closed

Several bridges and tunnels have been forced to close Saturday due to Hurricane Irene, including Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. The state’s Midtown Tunnel and Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel have also been shut down due to flooding concerns.

To find out more about closings affecting transportation, check out Dr. Gridlock .


01:10 p.m. Dominion Virginia Power reports thousands of outages

Dominion Virginia Power said over 150,000 of its customers in Virginia and North Carolina are without electricity, the Associated Press reports. Progress Energy said 250,000 of its customers are also in the dark.

You can see a map of DVP’s outages here.


12:40 p.m. Obama visits FEMA

President Obama made an unannounced visit to FEMA headquarters for a briefing on Hurricane Irene, the Post’s Ed O’Keefe reports: “Good optics for him post vacation, right?”


12:10 p.m. Another death reported in North Carolina

The Raleigh News and Observer reports that a man from Onslow County died while putting plywood on his home’s windows. The unidentified man suffered a heart attack, a spokesperson from the N.C. Division of Emergency Management said.

Hurricane Irene has caused at least two deaths at this point, the other by fallen tree limb. At least one person has been reported missing, according to the News and Observer.

Over 200,000 are without power in the state, which was the first in the U.S. to meet Hurricane Irene


11:50 a.m. Man killed by tree limb in North Carolina

A North Carolina man was killed Saturday when a large tree limb fell on him, the Associated Press reports. The man, whose identity has not been released, was walking outside of his home at the time of his death.

This is the first reported fatality caused by Hurricane Irene.


11:45 a.m. Sec. Napolitano, FEMA give updates on storm

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, along with FEMA director Craig Fugate, asked those on the East Coast given evacuation orders to follow them. “People need to take it seriously. People need to be prepared,” she said.

Federal Eye blogger Ed O’Keefe live tweeted Saturday’s press conference. Read some of his tweets below.


11:25 a.m. Gov. Chris Christie on Friday: “Get the hell off the beach”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told residents of his state still hanging out at Asbury Park to “get the hell off the beach” during a press conference Friday.

“You’re done. It’s 4:30. You’ve maximized your tan,” he said before urging residents to evacuate from homes close to the water.

(Thanks to the Post’s Ed O’Keefe for this!)


11:10 a.m. Video: Atlantic Beach, N.C. streets flooded

See flooded streets in Atlantic Beach, N.C., where part of a pier collapsed earlier today, in this video from CNN’s iReport.

The Category 1 storm has dumped five to ten inches of rain on parts of North Carolina.


10:55 a.m. Obama declares state of emergency in Rhode Island

Rhode Island has joined the list of eastern states where President Obama has declared a state of emergency.



Hurricane Irene. (NOAA)
10:50 a.m. Photo: Irene makes landfall

From the NOAA comes this satellite image of Hurricane Irene as the storm made landfall Saturday morning near Cape Lookout, N.C.


10:30 a.m. N.C. Gov. Perdue urges residents to ‘stay inside’

Gov. Bev Perdue urged North Carolinians to “please stay inside,” as Hurricane Irene pounds the state with heavy rain and high winds.

About 200,000 homes in the state are without power. Watch live video from Nags Head, N.C. here.


10:00 a.m. New York City mayor urges residents in low-lying areas to leave

At a press conference Saturday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged residents in mandatory evacuation areas to leave the city while they still can. “This is not a joke,” he said. “Your life could be in danger.” The city’s subway system and five major airports will shut down at noon.

“Staying behind is dangerous, staying behind is foolish, and it’s against the law, and we urge everyone in the evacuation zones not to wait until gale-force winds,” Bloomberg said. “The time to leave is right now.”

370,000 New Yorkers have been ordered to leave their homes. You can see a map of the evacuation zone here.


9:40a.m. Thousands without power in North Carolina

Thousands are without power in North Carolina, where Hurricane Irene made landfall early Saturday.

Progress Energy has released a map outlining where customers are experiencing outages. See it here.


9:30 a.m. VaDOT to close Midtown Tunnel

The Virginia Department of Transportation announced it will close the Midtown Tunnel at 10 a.m. ET. The tunnel connects Portmouth, Va. and Norfolk, Va.


8:30 a.m. Obama declares state of emergency in more states

President Obama declared a state of emergency in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Virginia on Saturday, as Hurricane Irene began to creep up the East Coast.

“The declaration means the states can quickly apply for federal funding to help pay for damage and repairs to roads, public buildings, water treatment plants and electrical grids, among other services, and state residents will more quickly be able to apply for individual disaster assistance,” the Post’s Ed O’Keefe reported.

Obama had already declared a state of emergency in both New York and North Carolina.


8:00 a.m. Hurricane Irene makes landfall in North Carolina

Hurricane Irene made landfall Saturday morning near Cape Lookout, N.C., according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm weakened to a Category 1 storm overnight, with top wind gusts around 90 mph.

NBC News reports that part of the Atlantic Beach Pier collapsed early Saturday.

The New York Times Brian Stelter, who is in North Carolina, reported hearing “blowing sand, rain drops and something akin to race cars zipping around a track. And, oddly enough: crickets.”

Residents of low-lying areas from the Carolinas to New York were ordered to evacuate Friday, as the Post reported.

Watch Hurricane Irene turn from a tropical wave to a Category 2 storm in this video from the NOAA.

By and  |  06:03 PM ET, 08/27/2011

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