A hurricane warning was issued late Friday afternoon for an area that includes New York City and Long Island, among other northeastern locales.
About the same time, Obama declared a state of emergency for New York state due to the storm.
Irene’s current track could make it the most destructive hurricane to strike New York City since 1938.
“The sun is shining, but don’t be misled,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters Friday afternoon. “There is a very dangerous storm heading in our direction. There is no question that we are going to be with wind and high water that is very dangerous.” CNN