Hurricane preparations, state by state
Andy Sullivan, left, and J.C. Baker board up a home Thursday on Nags Head along North Carolina's Outer Banks.
August 25th, 2011
05:02 PM ET

Hurricane preparations, state by state

States and municipalities along the East Coast of the United States are preparing for Hurricane Irene. Here is what they are doing, following the storm's projected path, from south to north:

South Carolina

No evacuations have been ordered as the storm path appears to be too far east to present serious problems. However, state emergency officials are monitoring Irene and have contingency plans in place.  The state emergency management agency is using its website, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to keep the public informed.

North Carolina

Gov. Bev Perdue declared a state of emergency for counties east of Interstate 95.

"Hurricane Irene poses a significant threat to our state," Perdue said, "and we need to take appropriate action to ensure the safety of our residents and visitors, along with property and infrastructure along our coast."

The latest hurricane center advisory projects Irene will make landfall late Saturday afternoon near Ocracoke. Tropical storm-force winds and rain are projected to begin late Friday and could increase to hurricane-force winds later Saturday.

Evacuations began Wednesday for visitors to Ocracoke Island. Beginning Thursday morning, residents of all of Hyde County and visitors to Dare County are being evacuated. Residents and visitors to Carteret County were ordered out Thursday afternoon.

For updates about the storm, follow North Carolina Emergency Management on Twitter, Facebook  and on the Crime Control and Public Safety website.


The Hampton Roads region of Virginia is at greatest risk from Irene, the state's Department of Emergency Management says.

Winds could reach 95 mph in that area, and flooding is possible throughout the eastern end of the state, the agency said.

"Irene's path is not certain, and a small change in the track could bring different impacts," said Michael Cline, state coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. "Virginia state agencies are getting ready for the storm, and so should residents."

No evacuations have been ordered, but flooding could prompt localized evacuations. Residents are advised to pay attention to local media for announcements from their municipalities.

The U.S. Navy is sending three submarines and 27 ships based in Norfolk, including an aircraft carrier, out to sea to ride out Irene, a senior Navy official told CNN. An additional 28 ships will seek more sheltered areas.

District of Columbia

The district was offering no specific hurricane guidance on its website, Twitter or Facebook page. Emergency officials were more concerned with the aftermath of Tuesday's minor earthquake than preparing for Irene.

Mayor Vincent C. Gray said on Twitter that there were no plans to reschedule or move Sunday's dedication of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.


Gov. Martin O'Malley declared a state of emergency Thursday afternoon in advance of the storm's anticipated weekend arrival.

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency was providing links to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The agency's website has a link to an interactive map to help residents identify flood-prone areas.


"Have a plan, get a kit and stay informed," Delaware Emergency Management Agency Director Jamie Turner said. "We want everyone to have food and water for at least three days, batteries for lights and radios and a means of charging cell phones.

"Remember that part of your emergency plan is to have a destination in mind if you have to evacuate. If officials instruct you to evacuate, please do it."


The eastern part of the state was experiencing heavy rain Thursday and some localized flooding from thunderstorms not associated with the hurricane.

Rainfall from Irene - expected to be as much as 7 inches in the Philadelphia area - could cause the Schuylkill River and other bodies of water to flood. Tidal flooding along the Delaware River is also possible.

"It is strongly recommended that Philadelphians living in flood-prone areas make alternative arrangements to stay with family or friends whose homes are not prone to flooding for the course of this event and until the flooding threat subsides," Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter's office said.

The state's Emergency Management Agency website has a module to subscribe to text or e-mail alerts.

New Jersey

Gov. Chris Christie has declared a state of emergency. In an afternoon news conference, he also urged people to leave New Jersey Shore points before the hurricane arrives.

If the hurricane continues on its current track, then "from a flooding perspective, this could be a hundred-year event," Christie said Thursday.

The state's emergency preparedness website warned of the danger of a hurricane storm surge: "The storm surge is a dome of ocean water the hurricane pushes ahead of itself. At its peak a storm surge can be 25 feet high and 50-100 miles wide. The storm surge can devastate coastal communities as it sweeps ashore."

New York

Irene's current track could make it the most destructive hurricane to strike New York City since 1938.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg suggested people on Long Island and living along the East and Hudson rivers take precautions such as moving furniture and valuables to upper floors, and urged them to refrain from swimming in the high surf the storm is likely to stir up.

City crews were hurrying to clean out storm drains and catch basins to minimize street flooding, Bloomberg said at a news conference.

Officials will consider evacuating low-lying places such as Coney Island and Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn; Far Rockaway and Broad Channel in Queens; South Beach, Midland Beach and other low-lying areas on Staten Island; and Battery Park City in Manhattan, Bloomberg said.

"We don't have enough information yet to make that call. There are still too many unknowns, but we will make a decision on whether to call for evacuating certain areas based on the track, the speed, and the strength of the storm as it moves from the Bahamas up the East Coast," he said.


Irene is forecast to arrive in Stamford around 5 p.m. Sunday as a Category 1 hurricane, according to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's office.

Malloy intended to outline the state's response plans at a Thursday afternoon news conference.


The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency website features numerous articles on hurricane preparation and safety, including how to keep pets safe.

It gives instructions for following evacuation orders should that become necessary.

There is also a Cape Cod emergency traffic plan.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island's Emergency Management Agency on Thursday urged residents to put together emergency kits to tide them over for up to three days.

There were no immediate plans for evacuations.


Officials were monitoring the storm's progress but had issued no guidance by Thursday afternoon.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire's population has surged since the Great New England Hurricane of 1938 killed 13 people and caused $22 million (in 1938 dollars) in damage, the state's readiness site says.

"A repeat of this event today would be devastating," it says. "The state's population has more than doubled since 1938 and much of that population growth has been in areas near the coast or inland waterways. There are many more people in harm's way today."

The New Hampshire Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the American Red Cross in New Hampshire have posted recommendations for hurricane preparations.


"Be prepared, and 'stay tuned,'" Maine Emergency Management Agency Director Rob McAleer said on the agency website. "Irene could bring heavy rains, high winds, storm surge or any combination of those things. Pay close attention to weather forecasts, and start now to think about your personal emergency plans. You want to give yourself enough time to take care of your home, business or boat before the storm arrives."

No official warnings had been issued.

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Filed under: Hurricanes • Tropical weather • U.S. • Weather
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. gung hoe

    Boy hope them hillbillys will be done going fast and turning left at bristol

    August 25, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Hopeful

    I pray to God that we all stick together and help one another. There is no need for stupid comments in this event. God help us all.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • 112321

      Relax man.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • EvolvedThinker

      If there was a god, he wouldn't create hurricanes that kill and destroy. Weather events are products of a planet we just happen to inhabit. Deal with it or die.

      August 25, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • solo traveler

      @Evolved Think: We need oxygen to live, but it's also toxic to our DNA. Enjoy the ride and be thankful for the miracle that we get to experience life as sentient beings at all. The universe has given us more than we need, arguably more than we deserve. There's much in this line of thinking to inspire your life, with or without a God-head in your conceptualization.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
    • SBotros

      Buck: don't worry...just hang in there. U are in God's hands so nothing can hurt u...pls believe in that.

      To all those with the stupid comments, like it will bring the country to its knees or it will take obama on a roller coaster or i'm glad it took its path ... bcz my state isn't a part of it...shame on u... instead of giving support to those in need, ur giving out such stupid remarks...what no mind...the strive over ur daily needs and money has made u heartless...i pity u...

      August 28, 2011 at 6:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. funky bunch

    I have a strange urge to buy plywood,

    August 25, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Big Spender

    I think God is going to bring the country to its knees. people who dont believe in God or think it just a natural thing, dont want to face reality, theres beliefs are not reality. God will not be mocked. There is a God and we are in the last days.Period

    August 25, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mr. Met

    Story idea: Has anyone checked on the ability of the U.S Govt.'s aging germ facility on Plum Island in NYC area (due to have its' duties shifted to KS. sometime in the future) to withstand what "Irene" is approaching with?

    August 25, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Big Spender

    EvolvedThinker Wrote
    If there was a god, he wouldn't create hurricanes that kill and destroy. Weather events are products of a planet we just happen to inhabit. Deal with it or die.

    Sorry Evolved but there is a God, your beliefs are not reality, you have two choices, either you except God or you go to hell its plain and simple, and you have to live with decision

    August 26, 2011 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
    • NC Bound

      Ummm Big Spender..... "except God"? According to Webster's "except" means to leave out or take away. So according to your sentence, EvolvedThinker needs to leave out your God or go to hell! Ok, I think he is covered! Oh and BTW, if you want someone to take your God into their life, i believe you want them to ACCEPT him.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  7. Buck

    Im scared, I do not know what to do.

    August 26, 2011 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
  8. peggy

    I live in Florida, so I am happy that Irene took the track it did. However, I do feel bad for those still in the track. My son lives in New Jersey, but went through 3 hurricanes here in in FL back in 2004. He, at least, knows what it's like.

    August 26, 2011 at 6:30 am | Report abuse |
  9. FloridaDude

    Very good .... it should pass through washington DC to take obama on a roller coaster

    August 26, 2011 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
    • ebun benard

      Well i guess its not just Obama that lives there-obama is going no where.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  10. watchman5

    IYes, my heart goes out to those who will incur damage from this storm, but it would sure be nice of CNN acted like they cared about the rest of the country. The east coast is not the end all be all. Those of us in the rest of the country are so tired of CNN broadcasting the eastern issues as though we are all interested. We KNOW that an earthquake is exciting, but a 5.8 earthquake is nothing and CNN made such a big deal about it. People in LA are laughing at you CNN. Now this storm is going to cause damage, but the rest of the country doesn't want a 24 hour pre-game blow by blow. PLEASE concentrate on other news. Those at CNN need to spread the coverage over ALL of this great nation, and make it about the WHOLE country......not just the easter part!!!!! Take note here. People are even complaining about the lousy coverage on Facebook.

    August 26, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |