6 Die, 1.9M Lose Power as Irene Drenches Virginia

Hurricane Irene works her way north

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 27, 2011 12:00 PM CDT | Updated Aug 27, 2011 10:49 PM CDT

(Newser) – Hurricane Irene is here, unloading a foot of rain on North Carolina and Virginia and ripping power lines from poles and snapping trees in half. Six people are dead and nearly 1.9 million customers are already without power, reports AP. NYC's mass transit system has been shut down, as have the area's five airports. In other Irene news:

  • A woman ran out of her home screaming "Where's my baby?" in Newport News, Va., after a tree crashed into her apartment complex. Rescue crews searched for hours until finding the body of her 11-year-old boy. Also among the dead are a surfer in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, and three men in North Carolina.
  • The coastal town of Belhaven, NC, saw Irene spawn a tornado that pulled the roof from a warehouse of a car dealership yesterday and damaged trees and a mobile home. Six houses were also damaged by the tornado.
  • Tropical storm conditions have already entered Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. In the Sandbridge area of Virginia Beach, a tornado destroyed five houses and damaged several others.
  • Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has ordered 6,500 active-duty troops to get ready for relief assistance.
  • All told, at least 2.5 million people have been told to evacuate, including 300,000 in New York. More than 8,000 flights are canceled through Monday.

A stranded sailboat founders in the surf along the Willoughby Spit area of Norfolk, Va.
A stranded sailboat founders in the surf along the Willoughby Spit area of Norfolk, Va.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
The Ocean City Pier is hit with heavy waves from approaching Hurricane Irene, on August 27, 2011 in Ocean City, Maryland.
The Ocean City Pier is hit with heavy waves from approaching Hurricane Irene, on August 27, 2011 in Ocean City, Maryland.   (Getty Images)
Yve Morris, 21, from Nags head, braves the blowing sand as the effects of Hurricane Irene are felt in Nags Head, N.C., Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011
Yve Morris, 21, from Nags head, braves the blowing sand as the effects of Hurricane Irene are felt in Nags Head, N.C., Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011   (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
A boarded up restaurant is seen behind palm trees as they bend in the strong winds on the Outer Banks in Duck, N.C., Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011 as Hurricane Irene reaches the North Carolina coast.
A boarded up restaurant is seen behind palm trees as they bend in the strong winds on the Outer Banks in Duck, N.C., Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011 as Hurricane Irene reaches the North Carolina coast.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
A sign torn down by hurricane winds is shown in a parking lot in Atlantic Beach, N.C., Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011 as Hurricane Irene hits the North Carolina coast.
A sign torn down by hurricane winds is shown in a parking lot in Atlantic Beach, N.C., Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011 as Hurricane Irene hits the North Carolina coast.   (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
A flag at a hotel is whipped to shreds by strong winds as a message is left to guests, who have since departed, in Kill Devil Hills, Outer Banks, N.C.
A flag at a hotel is whipped to shreds by strong winds as a message is left to guests, who have since departed, in Kill Devil Hills, Outer Banks, N.C.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Wind and water whip across the beach as the effects of Hurricane Irene are felt in Nags Head, N.C., Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011
Wind and water whip across the beach as the effects of Hurricane Irene are felt in Nags Head, N.C., Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011   (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Jim and Amy Burdick of Annapolis, Md., drink coffee in downtown Annapolis next to a pile of sandbags as the town prepares for the arrival of Hurricane Irene Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011.
Jim and Amy Burdick of Annapolis, Md., drink coffee in downtown Annapolis next to a pile of sandbags as the town prepares for the arrival of Hurricane Irene Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
A man struggles against the wind while trying to walk over the dunes as the effects of Hurricane Irene are felt in Nags Head, N.C., Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011
A man struggles against the wind while trying to walk over the dunes as the effects of Hurricane Irene are felt in Nags Head, N.C., Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011   (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Residents fill bags of sand as they prepare for Hurricane Irene in Annapolis, Md., Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011.
Residents fill bags of sand as they prepare for Hurricane Irene in Annapolis, Md., Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Antoine White walks in the effects of Hurricane Irene in Elizabeth City, N.C., Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011 as the storm moves up the North Carolina coast.
Antoine White walks in the effects of Hurricane Irene in Elizabeth City, N.C., Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011 as the storm moves up the North Carolina coast.   (AP Photo/Jim R. Bounds)
Virginia Beach visitors point out the waves as Hurricane Irene approaches the region in Virginia Beach, Va., Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011.
Virginia Beach visitors point out the waves as Hurricane Irene approaches the region in Virginia Beach, Va., Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
An American flag flying outside a hotel is shredded by wind and rain from Hurricane Irene August 27, 2011 in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.
An American flag flying outside a hotel is shredded by wind and rain from Hurricane Irene August 27, 2011 in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.   (Getty Images)
A sign indicating items that are sold out is seen at a Radio Shack store before the arrival of Hurricane Irene on August 26, 2011 in New York City.
A sign indicating items that are sold out is seen at a Radio Shack store before the arrival of Hurricane Irene on August 26, 2011 in New York City.   (Getty Images)
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