The outer bands of Hurricane Irene are making their way across eastern North Carolina. The National Weather Service reports steady rainfall in the Wilmington area and swells of six to nine feet along the Outer Banks. Tommy Hutcherson owns the Ocracoke Variety Store. He says he's making some last-minute preparations before conditions get worse.
Tommy Hutcherson: "We've just pulled everything in from outside, boarded up some windows, getting ready to put our cars on high ground, loading up on provisions... we're still going to be open until 7 o'clock tonight - or that is our plan - and then we'll reopen after the... event."
Governor Bev Perdue is urging residents to evacuate the coast before the brunt of the storm reaches land. At least nine coastal counties are under mandatory evacuation orders. Irene is expected to make landfall near Cape Lookout tomorrow.