Hurricane Irene at the U.S. Open – Rain and Wind

Haven’t been on-site at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, and won’t make it over there until Irene passes, but if the flooding and debris seen here, nearby in East Elmhurst, is any indication – this is going to be a long afternoon and overnight for the tennis center’s ground crews.

Overall – Irene is mostly a soaker. On the coasts, and for those in Flood Zone-A around NYC – they’re dealing with storm surge of at least 3 to 5 feet right now – flooding streets and communities. There have been wind reports out on Long Island over 70-mph. Down at JFK, they’ve seen max-winds top just shy of 50-mph – and I’d say we’re matching those sustained gusts here on the north end of the borough, just south of Laguardia.

I took a walk around the hotel at 7:45 this morning and witnessed flooded garages, an empty Grand Central Parkway, eerie silence from La Guardia Airport, driving rains, wind-shredded awnings, downed-limbs and smashed windshields. Check out the photos on Facebook

I’ll update again when I finally have an opportunity to head over to the Tennis Center and sort things out…should anything crazy happen between now and then, I’ll try and get it posted right away.

My thoughts and prayers go out to those here in the Tri-State Area who have it much worse than a bunch of tennis-freaks staying in a hotel at the airport. This storm will be loaded with insurance claims. Yet worse still, it has claimed at least nine lives in Virginia and North Carolina.