At least eight people have died as Hurricane Irene charges up the east coast of the United States.
The victims include a young boy killed by a falling tree in Virginia.
After howling ashore at North Carolina, Irene,
now 780 kilometres-wide, is heading north on a densely populated path.
President Obama cut short his holidays and has warned of a potentially ‘historic’ hurricane. Keeping a close eye on Irene’s progress, he says the biggest concerns are flooding and power cuts.
“It sounds like it’s going to be an enormous strain on a lot of states and that may take days, even longer in some cases, depending on what the track of the storm ends up being,” he said at the
Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“So we’re really going to have to stay on top of the response and recovery phase of this thing.”
Hundreds of thousands of US households have already suffered power cuts as a result of Irene, now classed as a category one hurricane. As it continues its destructive journey, this looks like being a weekend the east coast will never forget.