August 25, 2011 by USA Post
Tourists and residents of the small island of calm North Carolina flocked to the ferry Wednesday. Hurricane Irene strengthened to a Category 3 storm, as people filled their vehicles in Ocracoke gas and gathered the supplies.
“It’s a precautionary measure,” said North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue. “We want people to take this storm seriously and be prepared.”
Irene is expected to follow a path that leads to the East Coast. It could get to Florida and Georgia on Thursday, moving north through the Carolinas this weekend. Some projects that the hurricane will reach the city of New York, Long Island and Boston, even early next week.
Last year, Ocracoke Island was evacuated due to Hurricane Earl. The islands of North Carolina barrier experienced strong winds, torrential rains and minor flooding, but the storm was much less severe than expected.
“We dodged the bullet,” Perdue said after Earl.
Ocracoke Island is accessible only by boat and is a popular summer destination for tourists. The island has a permanent population of about 800 people, according to Forbes magazine.
Despite the warning, some adventurous travelers arrived via ferry in the morning on Wednesday, but officials said they were only going to the beach for a day before returning to the mainland.
Hurricane Irene struck the Spanish island of Monday, with winds of 100 mph and heavy rain battering the Dominican Republic, but so far missing in Haiti.
On Wednesday, he breathed on the Bahamas and the Virgin Islands, and flooding was reported in Baracoa, Cuba. This is the first major storm of the season.
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