Irene Churns Towards Coast

Friday, August 26, 2011 - 10:31am

Millions heed the warning as a powerful Hurricane Irene lumbers down the coast.

Melissa Cook had planned on getting married this weekend on North Carolina’s outer banks until evacuation orders sent the bride scrambling for higher ground, "it's been so much time and so much work, i just burst into tears that we would be evacuating this morning."

Eric Sheffield worries Irene could soon leave him building a new life too, "my builder told us we could withstand 90 mile an hour winds, but if it gets much higher than that, who knows. Who knows what we'll have when we get back."

It is now both tourists and residents being ordered to leave the Outer Banks, "some of the old timers when it first came out were calling this a hurricane made for TV because you guys get so excited about it, but that same guy yesterday was boarding up his house. So, they're taking this one seriously," said boat owner Marty Wade.

But it’s not just North Carolina taking this one seriously. Irene's track could take it right up the east coast into major metropolitan areas in the northeast, and so in at least 9 states officials are working through final evacuation plans, "This continues on the current track, from a flooding perspective, this could be a 100 year event, so people should not take this lightly," said Governor Chris Christie (R) New Jersey.

Even from space Irene looks absolutely huge

"We don't see how a major, major, significant hurricane event can be avoided," said The Weather Channel’s Brian Norcross on NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams.

So for some like Melissa Cook, today may be the last day to get out of Irene’s way.

Kristen Dahlgren, NBC News

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