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DARE CO., NC -- Heeding the mandatory evacuation order, visitors to Dare County began packing up to avoid Hurricane Irene.

The order took effect at 8:00 a.m.

A woman staying at Comfort Inn was on the Outer Banks for her wedding. Irene forced Melissa Cook to cancel Saturday's ceremony.

She told 13News that she and her boyfriend were in Nags Head during Hurricane Earl last year and had to evacuate.

Cook hopes to go ahead with the wedding back home in Richmond.

Another vacationer, Lin Wadsworth, packed up at first light to leave Nags Head and return home to Richmond.

Officials estimated up to 150,000 tourists would be leaving.

By Thursday morning, Dare County had not ordered evacuations for residents, but officials advised them to be prepared and secure loose items outdoors.

The Dare County Control Group is meeting again on Thursday after the 5 p.m. storm advisory has been issued by the National Hurricane Center. Further evacuations are anticipated as Irene moves closer to the Outer Banks.

According to a Dare County news release, there are no new reentry stickers being issued. The previously issued stickers, for 2008/2009, are still valid. Residents can also use a North Carolina driver's license showing a Dare County address. Property owners may use a Dare County tax bill with proper identification for reentry.

A high rip current risk remains in effect, through Thursday evening, south of Rodanthe, NC.

Ocracoke beaches are closed to off-road vehicles and all other beaches in the National Seashore will close to off-road vehicles by 6:00 p.m. on Thursday.

Dare County garbage pickup will be done on a regular basis through Friday.

The Town of Nags Head will collect ALLresidential trash on Friday. There will be no residential or commercial trash collection on Saturday.

The recycling trailers located at Nags Head Town Hall and at the Huron Street public beach access will not be available until after Hurricane Irene has passed. All commercial recycling is suspended until after the storm.

The bulk item/brush drop off yard located across from Nags Head Public Works will be closed Saturday.


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