Back in the 1970s, I lived in rural eastern Pennsylvania with my family. There was a little creek near our house, with maybe ten feet of elevation between us and it, and the nearest it got to our house under normal circumstances was two hundred feet or so.
Then, one summer a hurricane happened by. It rained for days. The creek swelled to a volume I hadn't thought possible. We were starting to wonder if we were going to have to hike to high ground in a few hours. We didn't have to, but another foot or two of flood level and we would have.
I write all that as a way of trying to counter some foolishness I see on the Internet right now, about how this Hurricane, excuse me, Tropical Storm Irene is only a Category 1 storm, so what's the worry? The worry is that it's fracking huge, and it has at least as much water in it as that hurricane of many years ago. Here's what NOAA was predicting for storm surges early this morning:
A four-foot storm surge at high tide will inundate a lot of beaches, and sometimes even the roads or other infrastructure that's near them. It would probably be enough to cover this road, if it were at high tide at Redondo beach near where I live:
I don't know if the local officials on the East Coast have a clue what they're doing or not, but I know this - it doesn't take wind to make a hurricane dangerous. Torrents of water can do it all by themselves. Don't focus on the wind; it's the water that's the problem. It will overwhelm sewage systems and storm drains, it will flood creeks, rivers, and even bays. It will knock out electricity.
So, if your local officials say you'll be safer elsewhere, I'd suggest you listen to them seriously.
Everyone stay safe.