Governor Beverly Perdue has declared a State of Emergency for Eastern Carolina.
The area is for all counties east of Interstate 95.
Perdue has also asked President Barack Obama to declare a pre-landfall emergency declaration to provide federal assistance for response efforts.
“Hurricane Irene poses a significant threat to our state,” Perdue said, “and we need to take appropriate action to ensure the safety of our residents and visitors, along with property and infrastructure along our coast.”
Democratic Governor Bev Perdue says the National Guard is in the staging areas to respond to Hurricane Irene.
Perdue sad Thursday morning, the track shifting further west is a great concern.
"Irene is a big storm. She is packing a strong wind," Perdue said. "We know there will be strong surges, regardless of how close she comes to our coast."
Perdue said people all over Eastern Carolina should take the storm seriously and begin to implement their plans to prepare for Hurricane Irene.
She also spoke specifically about Orcacoke Island, and the response of the people there to the mandatory evacuation. "I was dismayed to see many ferries from Ocracoke were nearly empty," Perdue said.
"Let me repeat: every citizen in this state in harm's way needs to prepare for the worst and pray for the best," Perdue said.
Perdue says the state's emergency operations center is running 24 hours until the storm leaves North Carolina.
Click one of the pictures below to see more pictures or to upload your own photos and videos.