Aug. 27 - Hurricane Irene lashed North Carolina with 85 mile-per-hour winds that sent boats flying and left some roads unpassable. Deborah Gembara reports.
Hurricane Irene lashed North Carolina with 85 mile-per-hour winds that sent boats flying and left some roads unpassable. Damage and debris. Nearly 300,000 people are without power in North Carolina and Virginia. President Obama discussed the storm's progress in a conference call with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano at FEMA and spoke with response coordinators in the operations center. SOUNDBITE: U.S. President Barack Obama saying: "It's going to be a long 72 hours and obviously a lot of families are going to be affected. From what we heard, the biggest concern I'm having right now is to do with flooding and power. And it sounds like that'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. So we're really going to have to stay on top of the response and recovery phase of this thing." While Irene has been downgraded to a category 1 hurricane, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano urged Americans to not be dismissive. SOUNDBITE: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano saying: "Irene remains a large and dangerous storm. People need to take it seriously. People need to be prepared." Further up the coast, in Maryland, the historic waterfront town of Annapolis was finishing its pre-hurricane preparations. Ezra Androus, President and owner of Annapolis Yacht Company, was taking no chances. SOUNDBITE: Ezra Androus, President and owner of Annapolis Yacht Company saying: "We've been working on this all week. We have a moving truck coming in the next 15 minutes and we're going to move this entire office out of here. And yesterday and the day before and the day before we've been kind of getting all of our boats secured and either out of the water or double lines. So we spent all day yesterday getting the different boats ready for this." For Dan Baird, the threat of a tidal surge was more worrying than the hurricane itself. "We're going to get the boat out of the water when we get back. We're concerned about the surge, but the hurricane part -- maybe we're stupid but we're not really worried about that part, just worried about the boats and the surge," he said. Irene is expected to hit the mid-Atlantic states Saturday night. Deborah Gembara, Reuters.