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Hurricane Irene Weakens But Could Impact The Tri-State Sunday Night

WILMINGTON, N.C. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- People stocked up on food, boarded windows and gassed up their cars Tuesday as Hurricane Irene threatened to become the most powerful storm to hit the East Coast in more than a decade.

Though Irene was downgraded to a Category 1 storm on Tuesday with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph, forecasters believed it would strengthen over warm waters.

1010 WINS' Terry Sheridan Hears From Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano


The earliest the hurricane could affect the New York metro area would be Sunday night or Monday morning. While it is still too early to know what Irene's path is, officials in the Tri-State Area are taking the storm seriously. Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said that area residents should do the same and should not get complacent.

"This is a good time to get prepared again in your homes. There's items that you should stock up on, those that need to move or possibly be evacuated, perhaps seniors should think about having their medications refilled and having enough on hand," he told 1010 WINS' Terry Sheridan.

Monday will be the opening day for the U.S. Open tennis tournament in Flushing Meadows and could be affected depending on the storm's path.

Water, bread and batteries disappeared from store shelves and lines formed at the pump. From Florida to Maine, residents were told to brace for flash flooding and power outages.

Hundreds of miles south, Irene swirled through the Caribbean, giving a glimpse of what was to come. Homes were inundated with water, residents took refuge in schools and churches, and more than a million people were without electricity. One woman was killed in Puerto Rico.

Forecasters warned it could get worse: The storm was likely to strengthen into a Category 4 monster by the time it makes a landfall in the U.S. this weekend, most likely hitting North Carolina. Irene could crawl up the coast Sunday toward the Northeast region, where residents aren't accustomed to such storms.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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