Irene traveled up the East Coast of the U.S. on August 26, 27 and 28, moving at bicycle speeds, sometimes as slowly as 16 miles per hour. The category 1 hurricane, later downgraded to a tropical storm as it approached New York City, made history for the numbers of people in its path—some 65 million—more than for the ferocity of its damage. Adopting a “better safe than sorry” attitude, public officials enforced mandatory evacuations of low-lying areas and mass transit shutdowns in numerous metropolitan areas, including New York. Parts of the Big Apple looked peacefully post-apocalyptic by Sunday, with deserted streets and empty subway stations serving as stark reminders of this historic weather event—the first tropical cyclone to make landfall in New York since the turn of the last century. Here are photographs taken by Scientific American staffers and readers of extraordinary Irene and its impact.

»View the photos of Irene's Impact