MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. -- Hurricane Irene has weakened but it's still big enough and strong enough to cause significant damage up the Eastern Seaboard.
North Carolina has been first in line, getting hit by wind gusts as high as 115 mph, 7-foot waves and storm surge that's inundated coastal and low-lying communities.
Forecasters are warning that Virginia, Maryland and Delaware are in for the same, as are New York Harbor and Long Island Sound.
At least five deaths are being blamed on the storm, including three people killed by falling trees or tree limbs, a surfer lost in heavy waves off Florida, and a North Carolina child who died at an intersection where traffic lights had failed.
The winds have been snapping trees and power lines, leaving nearly 900,000 homes and businesses in the dark.
Airlines have scrapped more than 9,000 scheduled for this weekend. Millions of passengers will be affected by the time the storm finally dies and airlines work to accommodate millions of people on very full flights.
Irene's center is estimated to be 500 miles wide.
By late afternoon, it was positioned almost exactly where North Carolina meets Virginia at the Atlantic, moving at 13 mph back toward the ocean. Top sustained winds had eased to 80 mph, making Irene a Category 1 storm.