Seven states have declared a state of emergency in preparation for Hurricane Irene, which is expected to affect the eastern seaboard beginning Friday night. In Norfolk, Virginia the Navy has moved the Second Fleet out to sea ahead of the massive storm.
North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue was joined by the governors of Virginia, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland, in declaring a state of emergency for their respective states.
The emergency declaration by the governors will allow states to free up federal funds needed to ready resources necessary if they take a direct hit from Hurricane Irene as she moves up the coast on her northerly track.
Meteorologist Jim Cantore said, "every possible path on the computer models for Irene presents a danger for some part of the mid-Atlantic, Northeast and New England states.
FEMA is stock-piling supplies in North Carolina and in designated areas along the east coast in preparation for a hurricane that meteorologists say could bring hundred-year-rains. Heavy rains should begin in North Carolina on Friday night and continue through the day on Saturday from the 400-mile wide hurricane.
City's and localities from North Carolina's Outer Banks, through Ocean City, Maryland, to Cape May, New Jersey are beginning to issue mandatory evacuation orders. A slight deviation in Hurricane Irene's course could significantly affect weather hazards for each state along her path.
In Norfolk, HRMilitary reports the United States Navy has opted to move the Norfolk-based Second Fleet out to sea ahead of Hurricane Irene.
Cmdr. Elissa Smith, a fleet spokeswoman, said: "In all, 27 ships are leaving Naval Station Norfolk for the open sea, while 28 ships will be in other piers or harbors that put them at less risk."
"Irene's current track indicates it will produce at least 50-knot winds and a 5- to 7-foot storm surge, which meets the criteria for getting the fleet underway to avoid storm damage. Our ships can better weather storms of this magnitude when they are underway, said Vice Adm. Daniel Holloway, commander of U.S. Second Fleet."
National Weather Service
Relative storm surge vulnerability of the East Coast and Gulf Coast.
In the Virginia Beach area first responders and residents who live in coastal areas that are under a mandatory evacuation order can turn to the SPCA as a 'last resort' to shelter animals that can't be left at home.
Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Greensboro, N.C., is being evacuated and all aircraft are being flown to safe locations. At Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia, hurricane preparations include moving F-22 Raptor jets into hangars in advance of the storm system.
Hurricane officials on the Weather Channel are warning residents of the east coast to get to the place they are planning to stay for the weekend and remain there until the beginning of the week, or until all-clear announcements are made and evacuated areas are re-opened to residents.