The zone to be evacuated is home to over 250,000 people, and includes parts of the financial district in Lower Manhattan as well as sections along the Hudson and East rivers, AFP reported.
The subway and transportation system — the city’s lifeline — is also going to be closed from Saturday to Monday, which will paralyze the city since many people in New York do not own a vehicle.
Through the weekend, Irene is expected to hit the barrier islands of North Carolina Saturday afternoon, eventually making its way northward along the coast to Boston and points farther north.
“I don’t see it falling apart. There’s nothing in the atmosphere that would kill it altogether,” said Bill Read of the National Hurricane Center. “I would prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”
United States President Barack Obama has cut short his vacation on the Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard. He asked the people to stick to the rules of evacuation, saying, “Don’t wait, don’t delay.”
Hurricanes are rare on the US eastern seaboard, with over 65 million people living in the densely populated cities from Washington to New York and Boston, which is known as the Boswash megalopolis. He also warned the people that Hurricane Irene could be history’s worst.
Along with powerful winds, heavy rains and harsh inland surges of water are also expected.
Hurricane Irene is still a Category 2 storm, with winds around 100 miles (about 160 kilometers) per hour. However, the mayor Michael R. Bloomberg warned the citizens not to be fooled because “the sun is shining.” He said Irene is a “dangerous storm,” and “it’s heading basically directly for us.”
The National Hurricane Center warned on Friday that Irene could become a Category 4 storm by Thursday, with wind speeds of at least 131 mph (over 210 kph).