Irene 1st hurricane to make landfall in US since 2008

NEW YORK - Irene is the first hurricane to make landfall in the continental United States since 2008. It comes almost six years to the day after Katrina ravaged New Orleans on Aug. 29, 2005. Experts say that probably no other hurricane in American history has threatened as many people.

Airlines said 9,000 flights were canceled, including 3,000 on Saturday. The number of passengers affected could be millions because so many flights make connections on the East Coast.

In New York, authorities undertook the herculean job of bringing the city to a halt. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority shut down its subways, trains and buses for a natural disaster for the first time, beginning at noon Saturday.

On Wall Street, sandbags were placed around subway grates near the East River because of fear of flooding.

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