Smaller Islands in Bahamas Receive Worst of Irene

(NECN/CNN: Jim Spellman, Nassau, Bahamas) – We continue to track Hurricane Irene. People in the Bahamas awoke to fierce swirls of wind and rain as the powerful hurricane tore through the island chain.

The storm reportedly has caused massive damage on some of the smaller islands.

CNN’s Jim Spellman has the latest from Nassau, which seems to have escaped major problems.

A hurricane warning is in effect for much of the U.S. East Coast, as the region braces for the arrival of Hurricane Irene.

Governors of six states in the path of the storm have already declared states of emergency.

Meanwhile, things are returning to normal in the Bahamas after the storm pounded the island nation earlier today.

The winds have finally started to die down here in Nassau, Bahamas, after a punishing day of brutal rains and driving winds as Hurricane Irene made its way to the east of the most populated areas here in the Bahamas.

So far, very little damage to report.

None of the popular areas of Paradise Island sustained any real damage. And even the residences here in Nassau have sustained very little damage.

A few downed trees and a few power lines but that’s about it.

Some of the smaller islands haven’t faired nearly as well.

Earlier reports indicate that, in some villages, 90 percent of the structures have been destroyed.

They’ll have a better idea tomorrow when they can get boats out there to assess the situation in these remote areas where communications have been cut off.

Back here in Nassau, they’re so confident that the tourist areas are secure, that they are reopening the cruise ship docks Thursday night and reopening the airport Friday hoping that tourists will come back as soon as possible, perhaps even ride out Irene here in the Bahamas as it strikes the East coast of the US.

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