Forget the panty-knotting over earthquakes.
A hurricane right down the gullet of New York City will create far more devastation and probably more deaths than 9/11.
That's a bet.
Irene has a fifty-fifty projection to hit the New York area as a hurricane. Four of eight scenarios show the eye of Irene passing either just over or just east of the city. One has it shoving itself right down our throats. Another has it hitting just outside the New York bight on the uppper Jersey shore. Both of those scenarios would create a potential storm surge of thirty feet (based on wind strength), which as it enters the Verrazano Narrows by Brooklyn and Staten Island would be amplified.
It would wipe out Manhattan below 14th Street, much of the Brooklyn and Queens waterfront and destroy the subway system.