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Updated: Cable News Networks, Stations Hunkered Down With Irene

Hurricane Irene cast a wide swath of destruction as it pelted the Eastern seaboard this past weekend, as local and national TV news crews covered the storm's arrival and aftermath.

Reports indicate that 15 people in eight states lost their lives in situations related to the category 1 hurricane, which was later downgraded to a tropical storm. Tell that to those who lost family members and the millions -- 6 million by at least one account -- who are enduring power outages from the Carolinas to Maine.

News coverage, both locally and nationally, centered on Irene from Thursday forward. Initially, reports orbited the upcoming storms, the evacuation processes in many low-lying and coastal areas and the necessary means to gird against the high winds and rains that were approaching.

As Irene passed through, reports focused on the fallen trees, the flooding and the efforts by first-responders to rescue people or have them leave their homes. Naturally, correspondents stood before water rushing over streams, rivers and beaches, as well folks and municipal personnel in boats looking to supply relief.  Clean-up efforts against strewn branches and mud slies were also front and center as people began the slow move toward restoring a relative sense of normalcy to their Irene-impacted lives.

Road closures and the restoration of mass transit were also on tap via news reports in the Big Apple and its environs on Sunday and into Monday morning as some people attempted to find routes to get to work.

On Friday and Saturday, as Hurricane Irene made its way up the Eastern seaboard, local stations and national news networks focused their attention, resources and lenses on the storm that has already cost lives and extensive property damage.
As Irene, a category 1 hurricane, made landfall and passed through the Carolinas and into Virginia, it had caused six deaths in those states. By early Saturday evening, it was reported by multiple news outlets that the storm had already short-circuited power in some 1 million homes.
An estimated 2.3 million people had been evacuated along various shore lines, including 370,000 in New York City, where the storm was not expected to reach until Sunday. In the Big Apple, Mayor Bloomberg shut down the subways and other mass transit for the first time in New York City history.
As expected Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC and The Weather Channel put a microscope on the storm, its damage and impending path, while also doling out safety tips and precautionary info. 

In the New York DMA, all of major network affiliates and stations pre-empted programming throughout Saturday to concentrate on the storm. Cablevision's News 12 also was keeping a watchful eye on Irene.