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Wednesday 4 October 2023 Dublin: 14°C
Steve Ruark/AP/Press Association Images A road sign in Leonardtown, Maryland, one of the states affected by the extreme weather.
# Irene
Irene: Threat of floods remains as 21 people confirmed dead
Billions of dollars worth of damage was caused by the hurricane, now downgraded to a tropical storm as New York returns to normal.

AT LEAST 21 people are now confirmed to have died and billions of dollars worth of damage has been done by Hurricane Irene which has been downgraded to a tropical storm now heading northwards towards Canada.

It is reported that it could take several days for power to be restored to millions of people who were left in darkness by the storm.

Meanwhile president Barack Obama has warned that a threat still remains from possible flooding.

He said in a statement yesterday:

Many Americans are still at serious risk of power outages and flooding, which could get worse in the coming days as rivers swell past their banks.

So I want people to understand that this is not over. Response and recovery efforts will be an ongoing operation, and I urge Americans in affected areas to continue to listen for the guidance and direction of their state and local officials.

Utility companies in southern Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland say they’ve restored power to more than 600,000 people as of Sunday morning.

But more than four million people remain without electricity along the eastern seaboard.

BBC News reports that some 65 million people in total were affected by the storm, the largest number of Americans ever effect by a single storm.

Forecasters say storm warnings for the east coast have all been called off and that former Hurricane Irene is now heading towards Canada still packing 50 miles per hour winds.

Experts have said that the evucuations were justified despite the damage not being as worse as was initially feared.

Some 370,000 people were evacuated from low-lying areas of New York on Friday. They were allowed return yesterday afternoon.

Reuters reports that many face a hellish commute to work this morning as life returns to normal.

Delays and overcrowding are expected as the subways and air travel at major airports resumes and the New York Stock Exchange is set to open. However, most of the commuter services into the city are out of service indefinitely.

In Pictures: the aftermath of Hurricane Irene>

Earlier: 14 confirmed dead across six states as NYC evacuation order lifted>

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