Hurricane Irene Path of Destruction Kills Five, New York on Shut Down (PHOTOS)

Hurricane Irene made landfall on Saturday morning along the southern coast of North Carolina, causing damage, devastation and a number of deaths as it made its way slowly northwards up the East Coast of America.

So far Irene has been reported to have contributed to the deaths of at least five people, and by Saturday afternoon almost a million homes and businesses had suffered power outages.

irene(Photo: REUTERS/Molly Riley)Trees are affected by the early effects of Hurricane Irene on the empty board walk in Ocean City, Maryland, August 27, 2011. National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read said Irene, which will be the first significant hurricane to affect the populous Northeast in decades, would lash the Atlantic seaboard with tropical storm-force winds and a "huge swath of rain" from the Carolinas to New England.

 The District of Colombia issued a flash flood warning telling residents to expect about four to eight inches of rain, which is higher than previously touted.

In North Carolina a number of deaths occurred. One man suffered a fatal heart attack as he prepared for the storm nailing plywood to his windows. Another died when he lost control of his car, which hydroplaned and smashed into a tree. A third died when he was hit by a falling tree limb.

In other areas an 11-year-old boy has died in Newport when a tree fell on the building he was sheltering in. Another man in Brunswick County died when a tree, uprooted by Irene crashed onto his car.

irene(Photo: REUTERS/Randall Hill)An onlooker takes a photo of a fallen gas canopy hit by Hurricane Irene, at the Atlantic Food Mart in Surf City, N.C., August, 27, 2011.

 The hurricane is continuing on its path towards New York City, which is in almost complete lock-down Saturday evening. The greatest fear for the city comes from the storm surges, expected to coincide with Sunday morning’s high tide. It is feared water will be driven inland over low-lying areas such as the vulnerable Rockaway Peninsula and through the skyscrapers of Lower Manhattan’s Battery Park and Financial District.

irene(Photo: REUTERS/Randall Hill)Vehicles are driven through a flooded area during Hurricane Irene in Surf City August 27, 2011.

 Hundreds of thousands have been evacuated from specified areas across New York, and the narrow streets combined with towering sky scrapers have some commentators expecting winds to be driven between buildings at up to 100 mph.

The entire public transportation system including subways, commuter rail lines and buses have shut down throughout Saturday, with many saying service is unlikely to return until Tuesday.

irene(Photo: REUTERS/Steve Nesius)Debris and sand litters the road behind the town's main beach as the backside of Hurricane Irene comes ashore near Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, August 27, 2011.
irene(Photo: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)A woman walks through the Times Square subway station after the last subway has left, August 27, 2011. Mayor Michael Bloomberg sternly warned New Yorkers to follow the city's unprecedented mandatory evacuation orders on Saturday, saying approaching Hurricane Irene is "life-threatening" and "not a joke." Some 370,000 of the city's more than 8 million residents are under orders to leave their homes in low-lying and waterfront areas, largely in the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens and in the financial district in downtown Manhattan.

 Power outages are expected throughout the destructive path of Irene, and in Lower Manhattan, including Wall Street, many are expecting Con Edison to shut off electricity in the area as the storm surges arrive.

In Lower Manhattan a storm surge of about five to six feet is expected, however, waves as high as six to eight feet are anticipated on top of that.

irene(Photo: NASA)The GOES-13 satellite saw Hurricane Irene on August 27, 2011 at 10:10 a.m. EDT after it made landfall at 8 a.m. in Cape Lookout, North Carolina. Irene's outer bands had already extended into New England.