Experts: Hurricane Irene Set To Be an ‘Extraordinary Threat’

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Jose Luis Magana / Reuters

Lee Rogers boards up windows in Salvo, N.C., in preparation for Hurricane Irene's approach

The Weather Channel is reporting in no uncertain terms that Hurricane Irene will be historically big, the likes of which have rarely been seen in metropolitan areas from North Carolina up to New England.

This long stretch of the coast is in the potential path of the “rare” and “dangerous” hurricane that poses what is said to be “an extraordinary threat.” And no, this isn’t going to be a rerun of the dramatic lead-ups that had petered out by the time the storms made landfall (talking about you, Hurricane Earl).

(MORE: Specialist: Hurricane Irene Is Just the Beginning of an Active Season)

The Weather Channel’s website says that although the East Coast has experienced storms of this strength in decades past, the region’s development and population growth since then has set an unprecedented scenario. Millions of people will likely lose electricity due to power-line damage, and there will be significant flooding and felled trees. It is only a matter of exactly where it will happen.

Already, North Carolina is experiencing high waves caused by the Category 3 storm, and evacuation orders have been mandated. The government is urging east coast residents to take precautions, namely by boarding up windows, strapping down roofs and storing enough water and food. And if an evacuation is ordered, well, get out.

MORE: Where Natural Disasters Happen the Most in the U.S.