Officials in Hampton Roads are urging residents and tourists to evacuate in anticipation of Hurricane Irene striking the area.
Virginia Beach issued a mandatory evacuation for Sandbridge beginning Friday.
Norfolk issued a voluntary evacuation order on Thursday.
Accomack County on Virginia's Eastern Shore is also calling for a voluntary evacuation. It is the northernmost county on the Eastern Shore and emergency officials there are concerned about flooding on the bay and oceansides of the peninsula.
The county is urging residents to head to higher ground. It is also urging those who live in mobile homes to evacuate because of expected high winds.
Shelters in Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Hampton will open up on Friday. Residents are being told to bring bedding, medicine and food.
The Virginia Department of Transportation is suspending maintenance and construction activities on Hampton Roads interstates to clear a path for evacuations related to Hurricane Irene.
The maintenance activities will be lifted starting Thursday night and continuing through Sunday night. The suspension could be extended, if warranted.
VDOT said it wants to keep the interstates free if Irene slams the state and residents must evacuate coastal areas.
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