Hurricane Irene batters New York

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Hurricane Irene battered New York with heavy winds and driving rain on Sunday, knocking out power and flooding some of Lower Manhattan’s deserted streets even as it lost some of its power. Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm on Sunday morning but was still sending waves crashing onto shorelines and flooding coastal suburbs. There was about a foot of water in the streets at the South Street Seaport in Lower Manhattan and the tide seemed to be rising, although there was less damage than many had feared.
Heavy rains and wind forced the closure of three bridges leading to the Rockaways peninsula facing the Atlantic Ocean, and further east on Long Island sand berms built to hold off the flooding and protect coastal businesses appeared to have failed.
Irene was blamed for at least 14 deaths in North Carolina, Virginia and Florida as it headed up the East Coast. About 3.3 million homes were without electricity and several million people were under evacuation orders.
Forecasters said Irene still posed a serious threat of storm surge that could raise water levels by as much as 4 to 8 feet in coastal areas from Virginia to Massachusetts. Isolated tornadoes in the New York area were possible.
The storm dumped up to eight inches of rain on the Washington region, but the capital appeared to have avoided major damage. From the Carolinas to Maine, tens of millions of people were in the path of Irene, which howled ashore in North Carolina on Saturday, dumping torrential rain, felling trees and knocking out power.