Upto 55 million people living on or near the east coast of the US are preparing for the imminent arrival of Hurricane Irene.
Many are choosing to get out of the danger zone rather than face the category 3 storm with expected winds over 130km/hour.
Irene should hit North Carolina on Saturday morning although gusts and downpours are already being felt.
President Obama cut short his holiday in Martha’s Vineyard to issue a warning.
“I cannot stress this highly enough. If you are in the projected path of this hurricane, you have to take precautions now. Don’t wait. Don’t delay. We all hope for the best but we have to be prepared for the worst.”
Hurricane Irene is expected to make its way northwards affecting huge urban conurbations including Washington DC and even New York.
Irene will be the first hurricane to hit the US mainland since Ike battered Texas in 2008.