HURRICANE IRENE

Hurricane Irene: Ocean City, Md. imposes mandatory evacuation

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OCEAN CITY, Md. (AP) - 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.

Meehan is also banning the sale of alcohol and requests that all business close by midnight.

No vehicles except emergency vehicles and those approved by the mayor, city manager or emergency services director will be permitted entry to the island.
International student work force evacuation is expected to be completed by Friday morning. The Municipal Transportation System is providing transportation for special needs persons.

Ocean City advisory radio station 1670 AM will remain operational for further advisories.

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.

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