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Irene: New York's last hurricane hit


Staff writers
October 26, 2012 — In August 2011, storm hunter Mark Robinson battled through constant lightning and torrential downpours in New York, courtesy of Hurricane Irene.


New York City escaped Irene's wrath with only moderate flooding in some coastal areas (courtesy: Peter Walsh)
New York City escaped Irene's wrath with only moderate flooding in some coastal areas (courtesy: Peter Walsh)

For over a week, models had suggested Hurricane Irene would impact the U.S., but its exact location was still up in the air.

Then, Robinson got his surprising answer: New York City.

As Irene slammed into North Carolina, Robinson and chase partner George Kourounis were en route to the Big Apple, hoping to capture the first hurricane to hit the city in 183 years.

Robinson had chased close to a dozen hurricanes before, but Irene felt more personal, he said.

“My friends live in Queens, and knowing they could lose their house ... really brought it home a little more.”

New York City escaped Irene's wrath with only moderate flooding in some coastal areas, but its legacy lingered in places like flood-ravaged Vermont.

Robinson said some New Yorkers he spoke to seemed torn between gratitude and disappointment that Irene wasn't the historic storm they'd been warned to expect.

“But, better the hype and have people out of the way than have deaths,” he said. “Yes, there were deaths, but it could have been so much worse.”

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