Some incredible photos of the strong Irene Hurricane in New York City and other cities in US, last week-end!
British Airways (BA) and Virgin Atlantic were among those forced to suspend passages to New York and other eastern cities on Saturday.
Both carriers said they are operating as normal today.
However, those without pre-booked tickets were advised not to travel to airports because there are no spaces on flights during what is traditionally a busy holiday period.
‘As Tropical Storm Irene moves away from the New York and New England area and the airports start to open up again, we are happy to confirm the resumption of our full East Coast flying programme,’ Virgin told passengers.
‘Now that the New York airports have reopened, we are focusing all our energy on a recovery plan to bring people back home. Because flights are already very full it will be a little while before everybody is accommodated.’
The airline will not be accepting any stand-by passengers.
A BA spokesman said the operator was looking at putting on extra capacity over the coming days. He said: ‘The airports in New York opened at midday local time and we are running a full network of flights today.
‘As we have been forced to cancel a number of flights over the weekend, our flights are extremely full.
Destruction: Route 12 on Hatteras Island, North Carolina yesterday after Irene swept through the area, cutting the roadway in five locations
‘We would urge customers not to head to the airport unless their flight is operating and they have a confirmed booking.
‘We are doing our very best to rebook customers whose flights have been cancelled onto the next available service. If they can delay their travel then we would advise them to do so.’
Hurricane Irene killed 25 people and left a £27billion trail of destruction in its wake – but there was relief in New York as the city escaped the worst of the storm.
Across the country whole neighbourhoods lay submerged underwater and millions were without power after the storm ripped up houses, destroyed roads and caused flooding.
Parts of downtown Manhattan were flooded, including several apartment blocks, but the damage was nowhere near as widespread as had been feared. A flood surge of up to 8ft had been predicted, but in the end just 1ft washed over the banks of the surrounding rivers and onto the streets.
‘This is not over,’ President Barack Obama said from the White House. ‘Many Americans are still at serious risk of power outages and flooding, which could get worse in the coming days as rivers swell past their banks.’
Within an hour of Irene passing, the sun had come out and New York began to resume normal life – with joggers taking to the streets which minutes before were underwater.
Calm before the storm: Grand Central Terminal in New York is completely empty, left, while the Times Square subway, right, also lies deserted
Weathermen also downgraded Irene to a Tropical Storm just as she passed above the city.
But outside of New York the damage had earlier been far more severe and the hurricane was blamed for at least 25 deaths – including two children – as she rampaged up the East coast of the U.S.
Flooding was widespread in Vermont, where parts of Brattleboro, Bennington and several other communities, were submerged. One woman was swept away and feared drowned in the Deerfield River.
‘It’s very serious for us at the moment in Vermont. The top two-thirds of the state are inundated with rapidly rising waters, which we anticipate will be an issue for the next 24 hours,’ said Robert Stirewalt, a spokesman for Vermont Emergency Management Agency.
Twenty homes on the Long Island Sound in Connecticut were destroyed by churning surf.
In the Connecticut town of Prospect, 89-year-old Charlotte Levine was killed early Sunday when a falling tree limb pulled power lines onto her home and started a fire.
An 11-year-old boy in Virginia was killed when a tree split in half and fell through the roof of his house.
Roads become rivers: Streets of Asbury Park, New Jersey, are flooded after Hurricane Irene moved through the area on Sunday
Neighbours who rushed to help forced their way in and found the dead child’s mother leaning over his body screaming: ‘My baby! My baby!’
Another child died in a car crash at an intersection in North Carolina where traffic lights were out, while a firefighter lost his life whilst attempting a rescue in Princeton, New Jersey.
Up to 12 inches of rain fell in the worst affected areas with winds gusting up to 90mph, uprooting buildings and leaving around four million people without power.
Thousands of British holidaymakers stranded on the East Coast may have to wait several days as airlines clear the backlog that built up as several major airports were closed.
New York had issued an unprecedented evacuation notice ordering 370,000 residents in at risk areas to leave their homes.
The city was put into lock down as the entire transit system was closed, the National Guard patrolled the streets and shoppers cleared supermarkets of food and emergency supplies.
Initially the disaster everyone had feared seemed to be unfolding – roads turned into rivers as storm drains were unable to cope with the all-night torrential downpour.
Times Square, known as the Crossroads of the World, was emptied out and large parts of the city looked like a ghost town.
But as the high tide and flood surge did not materialise as predicted, leaving Wall St and most of Manhattan intact.
In parts of the other four boroughs the floods briefly got up to thigh level and residents used kayaks to get around, although the waters receded as the surge waned.
A few dozen people had to be rescued from their homes but there were no reports of deaths.
As Irene worked up the East coast it was downgraded to a Tropical Storm, which meant it had winds between 39 and 73 miles per hour. A hurricane has winds of at least 74 miles per hour.
Battling to maintain their credibility amid inevitable recriminations, weather forecasters and officials insisted the drastic precautions had been justified due to the hurricane’s unpredictability.
Ever since the U.S. government was accused of ignoring the devastation that Hurricane Katrina inflicted on New Orleans, officials have been prone to exaggerating the threat from subsequent storms.
Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, admitted there was no damage about 75 per cent of the time when such alerts were given out.
‘We hope that people can go back home and there is no damage,’ he said. ‘A lot of the time people say: ‘Why do I have to evacuate?’
‘It’s those 25 per cent of the times that matter’.
Bill Read, director of the National Hurricane centre, said: ‘We had very low pressure in the centre but the storm did not want to get a solid eyewall feature and a consolidation of the wind near the centre.
‘The wind was spread out and fortunately the winds were not so high or we would have had even worse problems than we had.’
After passing through New York, the storm swept up into New England with winds still reaching up to 80 mph.
Officials said it will take time to assess total damage costs but Peter Morici, a professor at University of Maryland, predicted the total would outstrip that of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
He said his $40billion (£24billion) to $45billion (£27billion) estimate included $20billion (£12 billion) in damages and the loss of two days economic activity.
The other casualties from Irene included a man who suffered a heart attack as he boarded up his house in North Carolina and a Maryland woman was killed when a chimney fell on her house. Another woman was found dead in her flooded car in New Jersey.
In Florida, a surfer and another beachgoer were killed by heavy waves.
Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano said that President Barack Obama had been briefed on the progress of the storm throughout the weekend.
She added that the operation to deal with it was now in the ‘response’ phase, which would soon be followed by the ‘recovery’ phase where assessments would be made about the damage.
‘We are not out of the woods yet,’ she said.
‘Irene remains a large and potentially dangerous storm. Hazards still persist in communities where the storm has passed.
‘Unfortunately we have seen some loss of life but by and large with evacuations and other precautions we have dramatically decreased the risk to life over the course of the storm.
‘We have a way to go but it’s safe to say the worst of the storm, at least up to an including New York and New Jersey, has passed.’