Aug. 26 - A quarter of a million New Yorkers have been ordered to evacuate areas that could be in Hurricane Irene's path. Deborah Gembara reports.
All along the U.S.'s east coast, they're getting ready for Hurricane Irene. A quarter of a million New Yorkers have been ordered to evacuate areas that could be in Irene's path. Annette Benzeev lives near Rockaway beach. SOUNDBITE: Far Rockaway, New York resident Annette Benzeev saying: "We did take all our stuff inside, all our furniture and outside stuff and we're probably going to border our big windows later on today or tomorrow morning and then we're going to see what happens. If it gets bad, we'll leave. If not, we'll stay." Rescue teams throughout New York city area are also standing by. Emergency Medical Technician Jeff Mirto. SOUNDBITE: Emergency Medical Technician Jeff Mirto saying: "We're getting word, waiting on word from our bosses that they're doing a full evacuation of the hospital, so we're just waiting on where to take and what time to take our patients to, so it's just a waiting game." In Alexandria, Virginia, a suburb of Washington DC -- locals lined up for free sandbags. Store owner Jeff Albert covered the front of his home decoration store with plastic. "There's not much you can do other than sheeting the front of the store and sandbags, because the water in 2003 came up to the top step. So we want to make sure, since this is all glass, that no water -- if it should get that deep -- no water can seep in to the building." President Obama had this warning for Americans living in the path of the storm. SOUNDBITE: President Barack Obama saying: "I cannot stress this highly enough. If you are in the projected path of this hurricane you have to take precautions now. Don't wait. Don't delay." Obama has held regularly conference calls with aides on the storm, in a determined effort to learn from the mistakes of his George W Bush, who was heavily criticized over his handling of Hurricane Katrina. SOUNDBITE: President Barack Obama saying: "FEMA has millions of liters of water, millions of meals, and tens of thousands of cots and blankets, along with other supplies, pre-positioned along the Eastern Seaboard. And the American Red Cross has already begun preparing shelters in North Carolina and other states." Downgraded to a Category 2 storm, Hurricane Irene is expected to sweep up the mid-Atlantic coast on Sunday. Deborah Gembara, Reuters.