Hurricane Irene hammers New York

Hurricane Irene has begun to hammer New York city with fierce winds as residents have been urged to stay inside.

The New York subway system, buses and airports have been closed down, while 250,000 people were evacuated from their homes earlier.

Mayor Bloomburg says it is now too late for people to leave their homes, urging remaining residents of ‘the city that never sleeps’ to stay in.

More than 90 emergency shelters have been opened in New York in preparation for the hurricane - the worst to hit New York for decades.

The full extent of the damage in New York will not be known until Sunday afternoon, once the storm has passed over the city.


The storm battered North Carolina, Virginia and Florida earlier, claiming ten lives - including that of an 11 year old boy - with winds of 85mph.

It has already caused havoc in the Bahamas and the Caribbean.

More than two million people have been ordered to leave their homes across the US east coast, as seven states, declared emergencies.

Meanwhile thousands of holidaymakers have been urged to leave the east coast.

Five New York-area airports – Newark-Liberty, John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia, Teterboro and Stewart – have now been closed to flight arrivals.

US Airlines have been cancelling flights. JetBlue Airways was the first carrier to cancel a significant number of flights from New York’s John F.

The website, which tracks airport arrivals and departures, estimated that 8337 flights would be cancelled during the weekend,

In New Jersey, 750,000 people have been told to evacuate.

In 2008, hurricane Ike killed 50 people when it hit the US mainland.