BUFFALO (WKBW) With Hurricane Irene on a direct path to the New York City area, millions of people are now potentially in harms way. And because this weekend is the start to a new college year, many out of town parents are in Western New York. What they will return home to is a much bigger question.
Friday afternoon the University at Buffalo held its annual new student welcome day. Among the crowds were many nervous and anxious parents. But not because they were seeing their children off, but because many live in the projected path of Hurricane Irene.
Wayne and Elyssa Domnitz live on the coast of Long Island.
"the storm literally goes right over our house. The red line. So we're really worried that our house won't be there when we get home," they said.
Edward Rosenbaum's home on the Jersey Shore is also in danger of a storm surge and wind damage.
"It's stressful. There's a lot involved with the house. Luckily we have some very helpful friends and neighbors down there," he said.
Many had to change travel plans due to the storm. And though Buffalo is expected to only see some rain on the very edge of Irene, where many parents are heading home to, the wrath is expected to be much worse.
Michael and Janet Gallagher live on Long Island.
"We took our vacation to spend the weekend in Niagara Falls. But now we have no choice. We have to go home," they said.
But the American Red Cross has stepped in, preparing shelters throughout the Northeast, including in Buffalo.
"For those people who may have had travel plans cancelled or parents dropping their kids off at college, if they can't get back," American Red Cross Communications Coordinator Jay Bonafede said.
But the impending hurricane is still a huge concern for residents. They face potential property damage to the risk of safety of loved ones, and an uncertain future still to come.
"We have an in ground pool. Who knows if it will be filled with backyard furniture. Or fish. Or someone's boat," Elyssa Domnitz said.