Coming at us just days after a wide-reaching earthquake jolted the East Coast, Hurricane Irene is gathering steam for a possible landfall in that same area as soon as this weekend. But unlike the quake, Irene might be cause for real alarm, including warnings from experts that it could be the "most devastating storm to ever hit" states like New York and New Jersey. Read on for more info on Hurricane Irene.
How can I stay on top of the latest? AccuWeather.com's severe-weather expert Henry Margusity is tweeting updates continuously, as are NOAA, FEMA, and FEMA administrator Craig Fugate. You should also watch the hashtag #Irene. CNN is maintaining an open repository for updates. There's an awesome (and terrifying) live map of the hurricane's progress here, and your intrepid reporters at MoJo will keep this post fresh throughout the weekend.
How has Obama reacted? The president decided Friday morning to cut short his vacation on Martha's Vineyard and return to Washington, DC, in advance of the storm. In a statement to reporters (see the AP video below), Obama said: "I cannot stress this highly enough: If you are in the projected path of this hurricane, you have to take precautions now. Don't wait, don't delay. We all hope for the best, but we have to prepare for the worst." The Hill reports that the feds are deploying millions of meals and tens of thousands of cots and blankets to areas expected to be hit by the storm.
Just how big is this thing, anyway? This video from the International Space Station gives some idea of the ridiculous scale:
Here's a similar image, from a different angle. Wow:
Stay safe out there, and, together with our Climate Desk partners, we'll be putting more updates in the Storify widget below throughout the weekend. Help us populate it by sending updates to @theclimatedesk or via the #IreneCD hashtag.
James West is senior digital editor for Mother Jones, and before that, the senior producer for its reporting project Climate Desk. He wrote Beijing Blur (Penguin 2008). James has a masters of journalism from NYU, and has produced a variety of award-winning shows in his native Australia, including the national affairs program Hack.
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