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Hurricane watch issued for NC's Outer Banks as Hurricane Irene marches toward US East Coast
MIAMI (AP) ' The National Hurricane Center has issued the first hurricane watch for the Outer Banks of North Carolina as Hurricane Irene marches toward the U.S. coast.
Also, a tropical storm watch has been issued for much of South Carolina's coast.
North Carolina's hurricane watch extends from north of Surf City to the Virginia border. A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions are possible within 36 hours.
Early Thursday, the first hurricane of the Atlantic season has maximum sustained winds swirling at 115 mph (185 kph) and is moving northwest near 12 mph (19 kph).
Its track has it possibly hitting the outer islands of North Carolina by Saturday.
Officials along the Eastern Seaboard are on alert and debating whether and when to evacuate people.