North Carolina's governor has declared a state of emergency as evacuation of the coast ahead of Hurricane Earl continues.
Gov. Beverly Perdue issued the declaration during a Wednesday afternoon briefing at the state Emergency Operations Center near the state capital.
Earl's strongest winds are expected to reach the coast Thursday night into Friday morning. Perdue warned residents along the Outer Banks to leave those areas immediately.
Already, hundreds of cars were backed up in traffic on N.C. Highway 12, the sole link between the fragile barrier islands and the mainland.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
Click one of the pictures below to see more pictures or to upload your own photos and videos.