>>> including here in the nation's largest city. "nightly news" begins now.

>>> good evening, we're in the teeth of it now. the destructive run of hurricane irene is well under way tonight. it is churning up the east coast, and as it passes, its effects are felt for close to 24 hours in each place because it is so big and so slow. the storm is over 500 miles wide at the core, wind at 85-mile-per-hour. waves over the 20-footmark. the storm is a category 1, yet that number is irrelevant because of its size. perhaps the best way to show that is what the storm is doing to air travel. look at this, and note the atlantic flights going around it, and the air traffic bumping up against it. 9,000 flights have been canceled in and out of this region, but the rest of the country continues to fly. there is already widespread damage to report including the first wave of folks who will be spending tonight without power. the estimates begin at just under a million americans. there have already been at least six deaths from this storm. so, we're here for an hour tonight. if you are nbc station does not air the second half of this broadcast, it will air on our website. we want to show you our team in place, to cover this storm, up and down the coast. but we want to begin with the very latest on the storm. brian norcross, veteran meteorologist at the weather channel. brian, where is it now? have we backed off from earlier forecast as severity as the it goes north on up the coast?

>> i wish we had backed off. it's been 11 hours over north carolina. now emerging offshore and it is on track and on schedule, unfortunately. let me show you the radar here and show you what is going on right now, as the, the effects of this storm are spreading out to the north. there its the center, just emerging just north of elizabeth city there, and it is going to head right up the coast. heading for the delmarva and the jersey shore. these bands out to the north, one over norfolk now, another one approaching the washington area have a history of tornados and winds up in the 50, 60-mile-per-hour range. and that is just the beginning for folks here in maryland, delaware and points north. now the other thing that is happening is this circulation is pushing the water into chesapeake bay, there is chesapeake bay. the water is going on there. we have been at low tide. when the tide comes up and the water from the storm adds up with it we are talking water at 8 to 11 feet high. let me take you up the coast with the radar. here we see strong bands heading up to jersey and just outside of new york right now. earlier on, we had bands up in boston that were actually producing 2 inches an hour of rain. and again the beginning. little meteorology here, brian, the jet stream is pulling the air out of the top of this. so we are thinking that as it moves north towards you there in new york it is just going to intensify. so everybody from the center of pennsylvania, with severe flooding over inland, to all the way into new england with coastal inundation. all the effects are still in play afraid for the east coast. brian.

>> just an enormous storm. you look at the pictures the bands run from north carolina all the way to canada. brian, we'll be talking to