Editor's Note: CNN has reporters up and down the East Coast to cover Hurricane Irene. We'll be providing updates throughout the day on the scenes they are coming across and the people they talk to.
[Updated 7:30 a.m. Saturday]
(WASHINGTON) The sun is peeking through on the National Mall in Washington. The city will resume passing out sandbags at noon. Yesterday they ran out of sandbags at 5 p.m. City residents can get five sandbags per household. For this storm, city officials are using Twitter to keep in touch with residents in addition to traditional media. Officials are using the hashtag #DCIrene on the microblogging site to get information out.
- CNN'S Eric Marrapodi
[Updated at 8:59 p.m. ET ]
(IN THE OUTER BANKS, NORTH CAROLINA) I've been feeling the storm escalate with every passing hour. The rain is nonstop and the gale force winds are now gusting up to tropical storm strength. This is a fraction of what's to come after dawn. Authorities warn residents on the Outer Banks to heed the mandatory evacuation orders or risk the dangers of the storm alone. Emergency personnel will not venture out into the storm because it's too risky. Roads may be flooded or blocked for days after. Everyone has been advised to be prepared to be on their own for at least 72 hours.
- CNN’s David Mattingly
[Updated at 8:30 p.m. ET ]
(SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NEW JERSEY) This is the place where they filmed the MTV reality show “Jersey Shore”. I was at the casino pier, which is actually like a boardwalk similar to New York's Coney Island. People were out enjoying the beach, getting tans and surfing.
With temperatures about 85 degrees, it was a really nice day to be at the beach here. I heard Governor Chris Christie telling people to get off the beaches, but it didn’t seem to stop the people. I was told by regular beach-goers that the crowds weren’t nearly as big today. It was noticeably not crowded but it wasn’t a ghost town either.
Talking to tourists, some said they came down to enjoy the weekend and that they felt like thir trip was being cut short. One guy said he had just got to his hotel and was told they were going to close so he couldn’t even check in.
- journalist Aaron Brodie
[Updated at 6:20 p.m. ET ]
(KILL DEVIL HILLS, NORTH CAROLINA) After boarding up their house, a family in Kill Devil Hills left a spray-painted message for the storm on one of the boarded-up windows of their home. "Good Night, Irene," the message said.
The Nags Head Fire and Rescue Department also had a message for the hurricane: "Go Away, Irene," the message written on a bulletin board outside their building said.
We found a couple going for one last walk on the beach before the arrival of Irene. We also found a family with two young boys flying kites there.
Drew Goulde, a Kill Devil Hills resident and a maintenance worker at the
local Ramada Inn hotel, was surfing, taking advantage of a higher-than-usual tide.
"It is fun," Goulde said. "I'm just messing around right now. It's kind of
heavy out there though."
He said he would have to return to work at the hotel as soon as the
hurricane makes landfall sometime on Saturday afternoon.
- CNN’s Rafael Romo
[Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET ]
(KILL DEVIL HILLS, NORTH CAROLINA) We are on the beach. The first outer rain is just beginning to reach us. The wind has slowly intensified, but nowhere near gale-force yet. No one is in the water, and the few people on the beach are being told not to swim.
I'm manning a beach camera with CNN's David Mattingly. The camera is visible at the top right, covered with a black trash bag (a preferred protection over conventional rain covers; it's more versatile). As conditions worsen, we will go to a hotel balcony overlook with drier conditions and will continue broadcasting into the night and for the duration. We've stocked our work space with water and food (the least salty or sweet the better).
- CNN Cameraman Jay Schexnyder
[Updated at 3:38 p.m. ET ]
(STUMPY POINT, NORTH CAROLINA) Evacuating your home is never easy. And it gets a lot harder when you’re by yourself and have three toddlers in tow.
Kimberly Roehrig left her home in Stumpy Point, North Carolina. Her mom dropped her and her kids off at a specially designed county meeting point.
Here, she, Madison, 7, Faith 4, and 10-month-old Waylon would catch a county bus that will take her to a shelter off North Carolina’s Outer Banks. She told us that she lives too close to the water.
“We boarded up, but we’re afraid it’s gonna flood,” she told CNN.
“I don’t want to be there for a flood,” she said with a nervous smile.
Kimberly says she left her boyfriend behind to ride Hurricane Irene out in their home, along with their pets.
“I’m a little nervous, but as long as we have shelter, we’ll be ok,” she said.
- CNN's Rich Phillips
[Updated at 3:38 p.m. ET ]
(NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK) In a hurricane the higher you go, the stronger the wind gusts are. Construction workers have that in mind as they secure One World Trade Center in New York ahead of Irene’s arrival.
While the windows being installed on the soon-to-be tallest building in the U.S. are designed to withstand 125 mph winds they’re only in place up to the 52nd floor. Steel beams taking the place of the Twin Towers have risen to the 80th floor. The remaining upper floors are open to the elements.
That’s a serious concern because anything blown off a building from that height, even something as small as a bolt, can become a deadly projectile in a hurricane.
From now until 2 p.m. on Saturday - when all work is scheduled to be halted at the World Trade Center site - construction workers will be busy securing anything and everything.
“They are very big on safety here,” said Kelly Potts, an electrician working on One World Trade Center. “If anything is not tied down they will address it and fix it.”
She said anything loose is either being moved to lower floors or chained to steel beams.
“Loose boards, metal, anything that’s near the edge of the platform… they are going to make sure that it’s away from there and tied down.”
The construction cranes high atop the World Trade Center site will also be secured sometime Saturday. They are designed to withstand strong winds. Construction workers on the site are well aware how serious high winds are at a skyscraper under construction. While the Time Warner Center was being built a few years ago at Columbus Circle in New York a plywood board was blown off the building. It struck a man below killing him.
Listen to the full story here:
- CNN Radio's Steve Kastenbaum
[Updated at 2:41 p.m.]
(ATLANTIC BEACH, NORTH CAROLINA) The car is packed. The house is secure.
Kim Raines and her adult son Chris Braxton are ready to leave their hometown of Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, in search of higher ground.
"I haven't left in awhile," says Raines, "but this is the worse one [storm] I've ever heard of while I've been living around here so I am heading out."
Atlantic Beach is located on a barrier island and it is one of many cities in North Carolina that are under a mandatory evacuation order. That order made the decision to leave easy for Raines and her son. The difficult question came when they asked themselves what they should take with them.
"It's kind of hard going through the house and picking out stuff," Braxton said.
He remembers thinking "well what if it's not here. What do we want? What can we take with us that will fit in the car?"
It is especially difficult to decide when space is limited to that of their two door sedan. A car that would need to fit not just mom and son but also Tiny, their dog. In the end Raines and Braxton packed their most important possessions. Old family photographs. Raines was not going to leave behind baby pictures of her sons. Old pieces of art was another priority.
"Finger painting and middle school pictures," says Raines. To her they are invaluable sine the artists are Braxton and his older brother.
- CNN Supervising Producer Kimberly Segal
[Updated at 12:37 p.m.]
(ATLANTIC CITY, NORTH CAROLINA) Three blocks from the ocean, in a mandatory evacuation area, stands a home that will be full of people when Irene comes to the coastal town of Atlantic City.
“I’ve lived on the same street for 46 years so I never leave,” says the homeowner Kendra Barrett.
Seven people will be riding out the storm with Barrett in her two-story home.
“We’ll start up upstairs and if it gets bad upstairs we’ll come downstairs,” she says adding, “But the foundation of this is concrete and the walls are cinder block.”
Instead of spending time preparing to evacuate Barrett was in her kitchen.
“I cooked all day yesterday,” she says, “I’ve got fried chicken, potato salad, egg salad, tuna salad bread, ice cream and about 10 bags of ice.”
Lindsey Dipersio, an anti-evacuee that will be staying with Barrett, also went shopping in order to shelter in place. Aside from the usual hurricane supplies such as water, canned foods, Dipersio’s list included diapers and baby wipes.
Dipersio has two toddlers that will be riding out the storm on this barrier island, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and Bogue Sound.
Barrett says she is comfortable with the children staying adding, “They really don’t have any place else to go unless they went to a shelter.”
- CNN Supervising Producer Kimberly Segal
[Posted at 11:10 a.m. ET]
(ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY) It's a mad dash to the airport for Todd Milavec.
"Going to airport right now because I can't get through to anybody on the phone," Milavec said while jumping into a cab with his family.
Milavec's vacation at Caesars Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, has been cut short by Hurricane Irene.
Milavec is trying to get back to Detroit, Michigan, and says he will rent a car if he can't get a flight. Caesars has asked all its guests to leave the hotel on the famous boardwalk by noon Friday. Stan Bonilla isn't sure what he's in store for this weekend as he prepares to drive back to New York.
"Going to batten down the hatches on Long Island. There's a big one coming so going to get ready for it," Bonilla said while loading up his car at Caesars with his wife and toddler.
- CNN Senior Producer Eric Fiegel