BUXTON, N.C. — From North Carolina islands connected to the mainland by just a handful of bridges to the waterlogged shores of New England, officials are calculating what they need to do if Irene becomes the first major hurricane to strike the East Coast in seven years.
They're scrambling to inspect bridges, dusting off evacuation plans and getting sandbags ready for potential floods. And considering where and when to move people out of harm's way.
Irene could hit North Carolina's Outer Banks on Saturday afternoon with winds around 115 mph (185 kph). It's predicted to chug up the East Coast, dumping rain from Virginia to New York City before a much-weakened form reaches land in Connecticut. Finally, it should peter out in Maine by Monday afternoon.