FEMA chief: Irene could affect entire East Coast

By The Associated Press

MIAMI (AP) — Federal officials are warning that the first hurricane to seriously threaten the U.S. in three years could cause flooding and other impacts from Florida to New England.

Craig Fugate, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, says people along the entire Eastern Seaboard need to pay attention to Irene. Fugate says that hurricanes are not only a “Southern thing” and that Irene could affect the Mid-Atlantic and northeast coast.

National Hurricane Center director Bill Read says even farther north, the Atlantic waters can be warm enough to keep Irene churning as a hurricane. Hurricanes typically can maintain or gain strength over warmer waters.

Current tracks have Irene making landfall in North Carolina, though such projections are less reliable several days in advance.