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Obama Says Irene Still Poses Risks

Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge are hit by Hurricane Irene.
U.S. President Barack Obama says Tropical Storm Irene may be weakening but it still poses a threat to communities in its path.

Obama cut short a vacation to address the American public from the White House.

"Though the storm has weakened as it moves north, it remains a dangerous storm that continues to produce heavy rains. Many Americans are still at serious risk of power outages, and flooding, which could get worse in the coming days as rivers swell past their banks," Obama said from the Rose Garden.

Most areas, including New York City, appear to have escaped with less damage than originally expected.

The 370,000 told to evacuate in New York City, have now been told they can return home.

Irene did leave much destruction in its wake, including at least 20 dead, severe flooding, and millions without power from North Carolina to New England.

Irene has been downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm.

It was packing winds up to 80 kilometers an hour as it made its way toward Canada.

compiled from agency reports