Evacuations Begin on NC Island Ahead of Irene

5 years 4 months 4 weeks ago August 24, 2011 Aug 24, 2011 Wednesday, August 24 2011 Wednesday, August 24, 2011 10:24:00 AM CDT in News
By: Associated Press

HATTERAS, N.C. - With a dangerous hurricane expected to head their way, vacationers have begun leaving one of the tiny islands off the North Carolina coast.

Officials have told tourists they have to leave Ocracoke (OHK'-ruh-kohk) Island today, and residents have to be off the
island tomorrow. The 16-mile-long island is accessible only by boat.

Other coastal residents are stocking up on supplies and waiting to see where Hurricane Irene will go.

Irene grew into a Category 3 storm this morning over the Bahamas, and forecasters say it could get stronger still. Its top
winds are near 115 mph.

Irene is expected to turn toward the north and begin crawling up the East Coast in the coming days. Forecasters say it could make landfall anywhere from South Carolina to Massachusetts over the weekend. Even if it stays offshore, they warn it could cause flooding, power outages and other problems.

Irene has already battered the Caribbean, where a woman died in flooding in Puerto Rico and hundreds were displaced in the Dominican Republic.

At 11 a.m. EDT, Irene was centered about 285 miles southeast of Nassau in the Bahamas and was moving northwest near 12 mph.

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