Kiwis registered with MFAT emailed storm warnings

New Zealanders in the path of Hurricane Irene that is about to wreck havoc on the United States of America's east coast are being emailed warnings by our embassies in Washington and Canada.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) spokeswoman told NZPA that New Zealand travellers who had registered their travel plans on the Safe Travel webpage were being emailed by the embassies with advise on what to do when the storm hits.

However, the ministry had no tips on its website for those in Irene's path.

Nobody had registered any problems with MFAT, the spokeswoman said.

More than 2 million people were told to move to safer places, and New York City ordered America's biggest subway system shut down for the first time because of the natural disaster.

A hurricane warning was in effect Friday from North Carolina in the South all the way to Massachusetts in the North -- including for New York City, where more than a quarter-million people were ordered to evacuate ahead of Irene's approach. It was the first hurricane warning issued for New York City in more than two decades.

Officials declared emergencies, called up hundreds of National Guard troops, shut down public transit systems and begged hundreds of thousands of people to obey evacuation orders. Airlines cancelled more than 2000 weekend flights.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm was unlikely to get any stronger and may weaken slightly before reaching land. It said Irene could weaken to a tropical storm before reaching the northern

Senior hurricane specialist Richard Pasch of the National Hurricane Center said there were signs that the hurricane may have weakened slightly, but strong winds continued to extend 160 kilometres from its centre.

- NZPA

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