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Gallery: Hurricane Irene batters New York, East Coast
August 28, 2011 10:30
Tourists, taxi drivers brave the strong winds, heavy rains as streets empty throughout Manhattan and surrounding areas.

taxi speeds by on 42nd Street at Times Square in New York 31. (photo credit:REUTERS/Peter Jones)

BATTERY PARK, NEW YORK – Lower Manhattan was almost entirely devoid of people early Sunday morning as the much-anticipated Hurricane Irene battered the city from the south.

Violent winds and heavy rain swept through the empty streets of the Financial District which had been evacuated by order of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg together with other low-lying parts of the city because of the risk of flooding.

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Bloomberg evacuates 300,000 New Yorkers before storm
East Coast Jewish communities brace for Hurricane Irene

As of late Saturday night, Hurricane Irene was heading north at a rate of 16 mph (25.75 kph) from North Carolina toward Virginia, exhibiting winds between 39 mph (63 kph) and 80 mph  (129 kph), a NBC affiliate station in North Carolina reported.

The National Weather Service canceled flash flood watches in North Carolina counties at 8:19 pm EST, according to the report.

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