Hurricane Irene Evacuations: New York, North Carolina Prepare [PHOTOS]

 @http://www.twitter.com/entnewsnow on August 26 2011 10:41 AM

As Hurricane Irene makes her way up toward the East Coast, thousands of locals and tourists have been ordered to evacuate in parts of North Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia.

Nearly 200,000 people have been ordered to leave the Outer Banks of North Carolina, MSNBC reports.

We are preparing for the worst, get that plan together today, please, Gov. Bev Purdue said earlier this week.

Though the storm weakened overnight on Thursday, the National Hurricane Center confirmed that Irene, now a Category 3 storm, could gain plenty of strength before making landfall this weekend.

Residents have been boarding up their homes and shops all along eastern North Carolina. Some even included special messages to Hurricane Irene, such as Honk If You Hate Irene and Go Away Irene 2011.

North Carolina is not the only state undergoing evacuations.

A mandatory evacuation began Friday morning in Long Beach Island, N.J., as residents packed up their cars and headed out of town.

You can't compare this to other storms. We've never had a storm like this . . . with winds of plus 100 (mph), we're in trouble, Scott Cunningham, a local, told NJ.com.

New York officials are expected to decide on early Friday afternoon whether not to call an evacuation order for low-lying areas in the city. The decision will depend on the strength, path and speed of the storm, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters on Thursday.

 

Hurricane Irene

A plywood shutter, covering a window of a beachside house, shares a message from a community preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Irene in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, August 26, 2011. Irene, the first hurricane of the season, churned toward the U.S. East Coast. Cities scrambled to prepare, resorts emptied of beach goers, and energy firms like braced for the storm. REUTERS

Hurricane Irene

Beach workers fill sand bags on Long Beach on Long Island, New York, August 26, 2011. Hurricane Irene, the first Atlantic hurricane of the season, churned toward the U.S. East Coast Friday as cities scrambled to prepare, resorts emptied of beach goers, and energy firms braced for the storm. REUTERS

Hurricane Irene

A front loader piles sand to protect a life guard station on Long Beach on Long Island, New York, August 26, 2011. Hurrican Irene, the first Atlantic hurricane of the season, churned toward the U.S. East Coast Friday as cities scrambled to prepare, resorts emptied of beach goers, and energy firms braced for the storm. REUTERS

Hurricane Irene

Cars drive past a Hurricane Evacuation Route sign in Long Beach on Long Island, New York, August 26, 2011. Hurricane Irene, the first Atlantic hurricane of the season, churned toward the U.S. East Coast Friday as Cities scrambled to prepare, resorts emptied of beach goers, and energy firms braced for the storm. REUTERS

Hurricane Irene

Scott Grafton takes down letters from the marquee of the Morehead Center for Performing Arts as he prepares for the landfall of Hurricane Irene in Morehead City, North Carolina August 26, 2011. The United States urged 55 million people on its eastern seaboard to prepare for Hurricane Irene on Friday as the powerful storm packing high winds and heavy rain bore down on the North Carolina coast. REUTERS

Hurricane Irene

Rachel Isaac tries to hitch a ride out of the island at Cape Hatteras National Seashore in Rodanthe, North Carolina August 26, 2011, as residents prepare for the landfall of Hurricane Irene. The United States urged 55 million people on its eastern seaboard to prepare for Hurricane Irene on Friday as the powerful storm packing high winds and heavy rain bore down on the North Carolina coast. REUTERS

Hurricane Irene

A woman walks past an empty battery display at a Home Depot store in Freeport on Long Island, New York August 26, 2011. Hurricane Irene, the first Atlantic hurricane of the season, churned toward the U.S. East Coast Friday as cities scrambled to prepare, resorts emptied of beach goers, and energy firms braced for the storm. REUTERS

Join the Discussion