MIAMI — The National Hurricane Center has issued the first hurricane watch for the outer islands 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.
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 Banks of North Carolina by Saturday.
Officials along the Eastern Seaboard are on alert and debating whether and when to evacuate people.
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