With Hurricane Irene taking aim at the Maryland shore, officials ordered thousands of residents and visitors to leave Ocean City while Gov. Martin O'Malley warned of the dangers of the "monster" storm.
O'Malley declared a state of emergency Thursday. He warned state residents to prepare for what he called a large, deadly and "slow-moving hurricane that is bearing down on the state of Maryland."
The governor said Irene's epicenter is expected to arrive off the coast of Ocean City, with the eye wall possibly even over the beach community by 2 a.m. Sunday.
Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan said Thursday there were probably about 125,000 to 150,000 people in Ocean City. The city has about 7,000 residents.
Meehan said the last time Ocean City ordered an evacuation was in 1985 for Hurricane Gloria.