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Ocracoke officials issue evacuation orders

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RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- Authorities on North Carolina's Ocracoke Island have issued a mandatory evacuation order for visitors to leave starting at 5 a.m. Wednesday as Hurricane Irene approaches.

Officials said Tuesday that a mandatory evacuation order for all non-emergency personnel will go into effect Thursday morning for the barrier island, which is only accessible by boat.

Tommy Hutcherson, a resident who serves on the local board that makes decisions about when to evacuate, says officials want to have enough time to get everybody off.

Ocracoke has about 800 full-time residents and a population that swells to thousands of visitors in the summer.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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