High winds and flooding have hit New England as a weakening Tropical Storm Irene struck the US East Coast.
What had been forecast as the “mother of all storms” triggering the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, was downgraded before it struck the city.
However Irene, which has buffeted a six-state-region, has already left at least 14 people dead in its wake.
President Barack Obama warned the effects of the storm were not over yet. “While the storm has weakened as it moves north, it remains the dangerous storm that continues to produce heavy rains. I do want to underscore that the impacts of this storm will be felt for some time, and the recovery effort will last for weeks or longer,” he said.
New York was spared the worst of the storm although flooding of the city’s low lying areas was extensive.
Despite the power cuts and damage to cars and buildings, some are wondering if the anticipated destruction had been exaggerated.
The Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg was optimistic that it would be business as usual on Wall Street.
“The New York Stock Exchange and the other financial markets plan to open on time and have a normal day. I’m sure most businesses will, with some minor quick adjustments, get right back to keeping the economy going in the city,” said Bloomberg.
But the Obama administration’s caution reflects its keenness to avoid the criticism that surrounded the Bush administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina six years ago.