Weather forecasters believe Hurricane Irene could rival 1985’s Hurricane Gloria, which decimated the Ocean City boardwalk and was the last time the resort was forced to order a full scale evacuation.
Maryland governor Martin O'Malley has declared a state of emergency as Hurricane Irene prepares to hit the state's Eastern Shore.
While the Eastern Shore and Ocean City in particular may face the brunt of the storm, O'Malley says all state residents need to be prepared.
"We are encouraging all Marylanders who live in low-lying coastal areas that they would well advised as they watch the track of this storm," says the Governor. "People should make preparations to spend the weekend with someone who loves them on higher ground."
O'Malley says state troopers have been sent to Ocean City to help with the mandatory evacuation there, and he's urging those who want to ride out the storm to reconsider.
"People will face penalties, and that is why we have sent state police to assist in that. There will always be outliers. But here is the main thing: people need to act in an orderly fashion right now, and move as quickly as they can to move off of that island."
O'Malley adds residents should have about 72 hours worth of supplies for themselves and their families, because lengthy power outages are expected once the storm passes.