Before the tropical storm hit, environmental organizations warned that Irene could cause serious environmental damage to the region. In Brooklyn, residents worried that the storm might send a mixture of human waste and heavy metals from the Gowanus Canal into residential neighborhoods. On Friday, the New Jersey Sierra Club raised concerns that if flooded, chemical plants and Superfund sites located on the coast and in low-lying areas could release toxic chemicals.
The worst damage in the area appears to have been outside of New York City, in nearby parts of New Jersey, where road flooding and widespread power outages were reported. According to CNN,more than 850,000 people in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were without power on Sunday morning.