AP PHOTOS: A look back at Hurricane Irene

One year ago, Hurricane Irene sent cars bobbing down rivers, swept away covered bridges, put millions in the dark and killed dozens of people along the East Coast.

As Irene made landfall in North Carolina and roared north along a densely populated corridor loaded with high-rises, suburban sprawl and pricey beach homes, fears of storm surges and heavy winds lead to evacuations of low-lying coastal areas and the shuttering of one of the world's largest subway systems.

The storm made a direct hit on New York City, but the lashing rains saved their most dramatic damage for 100 miles or more inland. Irene knocked out power to thousands, flooded miles of roads and became the costliest Category 1 U.S. hurricane on record since at least 1980, with estimated total damage of $15.8 billion.

Here's a gallery of photos of the storm and its aftermath.