CNN reported that New York is ordering first mandatory evacuations in city history. Hurricane Irene will parallel the Florida, Georgia and South Carolina coasts Friday as it approaches a Saturday landfall in North Carolina.
Officials in counties and cities along much of the East Coast also ordered evacuations. It is forecasted that millions of dollars could potentially be lost in damages.
Below are static images of satellite view and projected path of Hurricane Irene from CNN.
An earthquake can be the scariest natural disaster to encounter because you don't know it is coming. Tuesday's earthquake on the U.S. East Coast caught everyone by surprise. It shows what can happen when a big event happens with no warning.
As for hurricanes, with all the sophisticated equipment, we have an idea days in advance when it will hit land and preparations can be made to protect yourself and your family. Below are pictures of measures people are taking in preparation of the approaching Hurricane Irene. For us who have no experience at all with hurricanes, these preparations for such an emergency are eye-opening especially the act of boarding up the home.
More images from Time.com
CNN has this useful article on How to prepare for a hurricane which could probably apply to other emergencies besides a hurricane.
Have a portable disaster supply kit – It's important to gather some things before a storm, because supplies may be gone after the storm hits. This to-go bag should be portable, and it should contain:
–Blankets and pillows
–First-aid kit and any medicine you need
–Flashlight and extra batteries
–Radio or NOAA weather radio
–Cash (ATMs may not be available for several days)
–Pet care items
Have a plan
–Know if your home is vulnerable to storm surges, flooding and wind.
–Have a safe room/area. The safest area may not be in your home, but may be a shelter in your community.
–Know the route away from danger. Some communities have hurricane evacuation zones. Have a primary and alternative route.
–Plan places where your family can meet in and out of your neighborhood
–Have an emergency contact who everyone in your family knows and can contact.
–Secure your home. Forget about taping your windows (This will not stop any objects hurled through the air by 90 mph winds). Have plywood custom-cut to fit your windows and pre-drill holes in the plywood for screws. Custom shutters can also be made ahead of time. Also, remove all dead or loose limbs from trees and shrubs on your property.
Stay informed (applicable in the U.S.)
–CNN Hurricane tracker (http://www.cnn.com/hurricane)
–Local television and radio stations
–National Hurricane Center: Website / mobile site / Twitter
–Your local National Weather Service forecast office
–FEMA: Website / Twitter
–The American Red Cross Online Disaster Newsroom
Check out Comments for more tips from people who have experience with similar disasters.