Residents and visitors on Bogue Banks in Carteret County are being told to leave the barrier island in advance of Hurricane Earl.
County Emergency Services Director Jo Ann Smith said Wednesday that the order is in effect beginning at 5 a.m. Thursday. It includes villages from Emerald Isle to Atlantic Beach. Smith didn't know exactly how many people were on the island.
The Red Cross also has announced it will be running nine shelters in four eastern counties.
Meanwhile, Gov. Beverly Perdue has sent a letter to President Barack Obama requesting a federal pre-landfall emergency declaration in anticipation of damages.
If approved, the declaration would allow North Carolina to gain federal support for use of the National Guard and other personnel.