New York hurricane photo by FreeVersePhotography via flickr-ccCoastal areas in the path of Hurricane Irene were mostly spared from major damage overnight and many residents awoke to catch glimpses of blue skies.

New York City averted hurricane force winds when Irene made landfall early Sunday in Coney Island and Brooklyn, and was downgraded to a Tropical Storm. The storm’s movement sped up during the night and did not cause the widespread damage in major population areas that was feared.

Here’s a roundup of some of the good news:

— Surge waters receded this morning from rivers bordering lower Manhattan

— The tidal surge moved out of the Chesapeake Bay, taking with it fears of morning flooding in low-lying areas like Alexandria, VA.

— Responders performed 76 water rescues in Beaufort County, North Carolina

— Virginians prepared for the worst, but fared better than expected. Folks in Norfolk area shelters awoke to bright sunlight, and cloudless skies Sunday morning hearing the news that many of their homes had escaped damage.

— Water levels started to drop this morning along coastal New Haven and Bridgeport, Connecticut.

— In Maryland, there was little damage in Ocean City, a beach getaway where tens of thousands evacuated before the storm. The beach still looks good and the boardwalk survived quite well.

NOAA map of hurricane pathOne storm victim who survived thanks to animal lovers who returned early to the beaches was a dolphin who washed ashore at Avon in the Outer Banks. The strangers helped drag the mammal back to the ocean, where it swam away.

Most New Yorkers took the storm in stride, some throwing Irene parties Saturday night.

Brooklyn resident Jean McKenna said she did not let extensive media coverage unnerve her, according to Voice of America.

“Well, I tried not to worry about it too much because we have had these situations before when they predict big storms or big events of some sort and then they come to nothing. I mean, you want to be prepared of course, but you do not want to overdo it.”

There are still flooding affecting inward regions of New York, North Carolina and Massachusetts, so do take precautions in those areas to stay safe!

Photo credit: FreeVerse Photography Flickr stream

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