Thousands Flee North Carolina As Hurricane Irene Approaches

Hurricane Irene is gearing up to be the biggest storm North Carolina has seen in decades and that fact has caused highways heading out of the state to become jammed as thousands of residents attempt to flee their homes for safer grounds.

According to ground reports gas stations have started running out of gas, ATM’s have been emptied of all their cash and the roads are bumper-to-bumper.

The category 3 storm which is 700 miles wide is expected to hit the Southeast sometime on Friday and officials have issued a mandatory evacuation in three North Carolina counties. Currently the storm is only moving 12 mph but is expected to hit shores with 90 mph winds.

Speaking to ABC News, a spokeswoman for Dare County said:

“This is a very, very serious situation,” while adding, “We have not seen anything like this in the lifetimes of most our residents. Once the storm hits it will be very difficult to respond to distress calls.”

In other parts of the country evacuations are also underway including various New Jersey communities and low-lying areas of New York.

The hurricane has also disrupted various businesses including Amtrak which announced that all train service south of Washington D.C. has been cancelled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.