Aug. 24 (Bloomberg) -- North Carolina began evacuating Ocracoke Island in the Outer Banks as federal emergency workers head to the state to prepare for Hurricane Irene, said Governor Bev Perdue.

The storm, upgraded today to a major hurricane with winds of 120 mph (193 kph), is set to make landfall near Cape Hatteras on Aug 27, then weaken, Perdue’s office said in a statement.

“It’s a big storm,” Perdue told reporters at a news conference in Raleigh. “We must all prepare for the worst.”

The entire East Coast is bracing for a blow. New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo ordered the Office of Emergency Management to ready for the storm, which may hit the state Aug. 28. South Carolina’s Emergency Management Division yesterday evening said that a “disaster or emergency situation is likely,” and activated its plan.

Residents of Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, have started buying flashlights and tarps at the Atlantic Beach Ace Hardware store, though many are watching to see what track the storm takes, owner Phillip Helms said.


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