[Updated at 5:32 p.m. ET] A hurricane warning has been issued for coastal North Carolina from Little River Inlet north to the Virginia border, including the Pamlico, Albemarle and Currituck sounds, the National Hurricane Center said in its 5 p.m. ET advisory.
The warning is for Hurricane Irene, which on Thursday was pounding the Bahamas as a Category 3 storm.
A hurricane watch also has been issued for the U.S. East Coast from the Virginia-North Carolina border northward to Sandy Hook, New Jersey, including Delaware Bay and the Chesapeake Bay south of Smith Point, the hurricane center said.
Five governors - those of New York, Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland and North Carolina - have declared a state of emergency for at least parts of their states. The emergency declarations allow states to free funds and prepare resources that may be needed.FULL STORY