(NECN/CNN) - The governor of North Carolina says the state is well-prepared for Hurricane Earl to hit their coast. President Obama signed a disaster declaration for the state on Wednesday, and Earl is expected to hit the North Carolina's Outer Banks tonight.
"There are 81 National Guard troops activated, 150 more on standby, so the staging is almost completed," said Gov. Bev Purdue. "I believe the ferry service is still working. They will run one last run at lunchtime, if I recall the time correctly but other than that the ports are closed and the ferries will shut down."
She said local officials are keeping a very close watch on the storm's strength and patterns, and they're doing everything they can to prepare residents for the hurricane's wild winds.
"For those of us who have lived on the coast, you can feel at midnight that this storm isn't going to do anything and by 12:30 or 1:00 it's going to be right on top of you," she said. "We're betting with the best science we have, but science sometimes changes. This is weather that is not in our control."
Purdue emphasized that the evacuation warnings are very serious, and residents are already making headway getting out now. Carteret County has already started evacuation.
"We're ready. Let me say that one more time, we're very ready," she said. "As ready as anybody can be. We feel comfortable this morning that we have in place the resources and the supplies and the capacity to do whatever it takes for North Carolina and our citizens to be safe and to be able to survive this event. Again we are urging everybody in the areas that have the public announcements to evacuate."