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FROM THIS EPISODE

The East Coast of the United States is battening down for what could be a major disaster. As Hurricane Irene neared the Carolinas this morning, President Obama cut short his vacation on Martha's Vineyard after issuing an urgent warning and promising "full support" for states and localities.

Banner image: Chris Pittman (L) and Bill Vota of Villas, New Jersey board up a store front on the historic Washington Mall in preparation for Hurricane Irene August 26, 2011 in Cape May, New Jersey. Photo by William Thomas Cain

Producers:
Andrea Brody
Caitlin Shamberg
Julia Flucht
Karen Radziner
Christian Bordal

Main Topic Emergency Preparations Ramp Up as the Northeast Waits for Irene

Even before Hurricane Irene hit the Carolinas, evacuations were underway as far north as New York and New Jersey. President Obama said federal agencies are preparing with states and cities for a "historic" storm that could be "extremely dangerous and costly." As many as 55 million people live in areas threatened with power outages, high winds and flooding where heavy rains already have saturated the ground. Major airports are in the path of the storm, rail lines could be under water and highways are closed — with potential impact on transportation nationwide. We hear what's being done to prepare for the worst and the possible aftermath.

Guests:
Dennis Feltgen, National Hurricane Center
Kim Severson, New York Times (@kimseverson)
Amber Parker, Pender County Emergency Management
Meredith Kruse, Virginian-Pilot
Mike Madden, Washington City Paper
Colby Hamilton, WNYC
Jim Rosenbluth, Cushman and Wakefield
Ivor van Heerden, Center for the Study of Public Health Impact of Hurricanes
Joe Sharkey, New York Times
Joe Brancatelli, JoeSentMe.com

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