(NECN/CNN: Chris Welch, Ocean City, MD) - Hurricane Irene is approaching the East Coast, putting resident and officials on alert, as they prepare for a storm that President Obama says could be, "historic." Chris Welch is Ocean City, Maryland, with the latest.
The skies were grayer, the waves were rougher and North Carolina’s coastal communities braced themselves Friday for the arrival of Irene.
“We are prepared for the worst and we continue to pray for the best. I urge every citizen along the coastal plains to evacuate,” said Gov. Beverly Purdue.
After a North Carolina landfall, the storm will make its way up the East coast forcing preparations as far north as New England.
Officials are warning residents in the storm’s path to not let Friday’s weather fool them.
“You have to get out. The weather is good today, it’s sunny, it’s time to move,” said Gov. Chris Christie.
Most have heeded the warning to get ready. There were long gas lines in Ocean City, Maryland, as people prepared to leave the coast.
Elsewhere in Maryland, boats in Annapolis were moving to safer waters, and sandbags were distributed ahead of an expected storm surge and flooding.
Mayors of the major East coast cities outlined emergency plans for their cities. Philadelphia and New York are among those who will shut down mass transit ahead of the storm.
President Obama, whose Martha's Vineyard vacation will be cut short by the storm, assured East Coast residents Friday that federal agencies are ready.
"We are bringing all federal resources to bear and deploying
them properly to cope not only with the storm but also its aftermath," the President said.
The President is not the only one cutting his vacation. That's been the name of the game here as just about everyone has left for areas closer inland. Officials are warning if residents don't get out not, they may not be able to do it tomorrow.