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British travellers warned over delays as Hurricane Irene clean up begins

British travellers in the United States have been warned by the Foreign & Commonwealth office to expect delays as the county continues to battle the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.

The storm made landfall over the weekend, with two states earlier declared disaster areas by president Barack Obama.

Irene left damage along the coastal areas of the east coast of the USA from North Carolina to New England, with transportation still disrupted.

Holidaymakers are advised to monitor local weather reports and follow the advice of local law enforcement officials.

“Hurricane Irene has caused delays and cancellations throughout the major airline hubs in the USA,” read an FCO statement.

“Flights have resumed from New York City, however, delays can be expected as airlines handle backlogs.”

Impact on Tourism

Cruise operators in the Caribbean were also hit by the hurricane, with private island Half Moon Cay closed for repairs following damage.

Three Carnival ships will now be diverted to other destinations in the region as the clean up to repair what the island’s owner, Holland America Line, says is “limited damage”.

Ski lodges in northern New England have taken also been hit.

At Killington in Vermont, flooding caused damage to the base lodge, lifts and roads.

Killington plans to open on schedule for the 2011-12 ski season.

Disaster Area

More seriously, United States president Barack Obama has officially declared North Carolina and New York as major disaster areas following the impact of the storm.

The decision allows the two states to tap extra federal funds for relief efforts.

About 40 people in the US were killed by the storm, which also caused damage estimated at more than £6.5 billion and forced a shutdown of New York City.