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Hurricane Irene Claims At Least 21 Lives, Still Spinning Over New England

David McAlpine |
August 28, 2011 | 10:10 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer

A walkway in New Jersey is submerged after floods from Hurricane Irene. (Photo via Creative Commons)
A walkway in New Jersey is submerged after floods from Hurricane Irene. (Photo via Creative Commons)
At least 21 people have been killed as a result of Hurricane Irene as the storm charged up the east coast, bringing heavy rains and flooding to many states and several metropolitan areas.

North Carolina has the most fatalities so far with six, four died each in Pennsylvania and Virginia. Officials in Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, New York and New Jersey have also confirmed deaths in their respective states.

Many of the deaths have been attributed to local citizens neglecting evacuation orders or leaving shelter too early after the storm hit, which was a concern for emergency officials ever since the storm's path was projected to hit the eastern seaboard.

On Sunday night, the storm was stalling over upstate New York and Vermont, bringing massive bouts of flooding to both areas. Emergency officials have used the term "total destruction" to describe the area, saying entire towns have been wiped out.

Several news outlets had reporters near Brattleboro, Vermont where pictures showed a small town almost completely underwater.

"[This storm is] the worst I've ever seen," Vermont Emergency Management Director Mike O'Neil said of the flooding.

Farther south, residents of metropolitan areas like New York City and Washington, D.C. were feeling significantly less affected. Many tweeted about a false hype the government brought regarding Irene, while others were thankful that there wasn't the damage some were fearing.

Government officials, however, are telling a different story.

"People are saying they've dodged a bullet ... [but] people have lost lives," Craig Fugate, FEMA Administrator, said Sunday. "I don't think you can say we dodged a bullet."



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