The town of Ocracoke and Hyde County has issued a state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Irene. There's a mandatory evacuation in place for visitors and a voluntary one for residents. But residents will have a mandatory evacuation starting at 5 am tomorrow. Hyde County spokeswoman Jamie Tunnell says people considering staying should heed the warnings.
Jamie Tunnell: "You know it's so hard to tell people to leave their home. I mean, it becomes very emotional for people to leave and you know not know when they can get back and check on their things. But I will say that this is a hurricane of a magnitude that we have not seen before. If it goes up to Category 3, Category 4, there is no one here that has ever seen what that can do. We are urging everyone to heed these warning, to listen to emergency management, and you know, pay attention to the local and state emergency officials and just really think twice if they're thinking about staying."
Governor Bev Perdue says emergency response is prepared but that residents need to do the same.
Bev Perdue: "Plan for the worst and pray for the best. That's what we do in North Carolina, and we know how to do that. And then be assured that our system is in place. We're prepared. Quite frankly, this emergency center has done this over and over and over. Every county has been involved. The Red Cross and the National Guard, the Highway Patrol, the Ops Center. Everybody's alert and will continue to stay alert. "
Keep checking wunc.org throughout the week for more updates on Hurricane Irene.