1,000’s Flee Hurricane Nightmare

Hurricane Irene has claimed its first casualties in the U.S. after eight people were injured by rough seas in Florida.

One person nearly drowned and seven others were knocked over when a huge wave hit a jetty off Boynton Beach, just north of Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

The first injuries come as waves between 6ft and 9ft were reported off the coast of North Carolina, where popular holiday islands are currently being evacuated in anticipation of the hurricane making landfall there on Saturday.

New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and Delaware have all declared states of emergency ahead of the storm.

As Irene devastated the Bahamas, caused panic in North Carolina and threatened to continue its path of destruction right through to America’s most populous city, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged hundreds of thousands of residents in low-lying areas to line up a place to stay on high ground ahead of a possible evacuation this weekend.

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