Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
27 August 2011

Obama cuts short holiday for hurricane Irene

"All of us have to take this storm seriously", says the President

By New Statesman

President Obama cut his holiday in Martha’s Vineyard short to return to Washington as the east coast of the US braces itself for Hurricane Irene. More than two million people have now been told to evacuate their homes and seven states, from North Carolina to Connecticut, have declared an emergency.

The National Hurricane Center has downgraded Irene from a category two to a category one hurricane but has said that the hurricane will still usher in winds of 90mph. More than 200,000 people have evacuated coastal areas in North Carolina where water levels are expected to rise dramatically.

Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for people living in low-lying areas. The Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg, which has also ordered evacuations for 370,000 people living at the city’s edges, said:

“We’ve never done a mandatory evacuation before and we wouldn’t be doing it now if we didn’t think this storm had the potential to be very serious”.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

The New York Times reports that the city has also taken the unprecedented step of shutting down its entire transport network: “all 468 subway stations and 840 miles of track”, as well as bus networks and commuter trains. Overnight, New Yorkers have reportedly been stocking up on food and water as the storm is predicted to hit the city at 11am (US time).

To track the hurricane, click here or follow the National Hurricane Center @NHC_Atlantic on Twitter.