(CNN) -- On Friday, President Barack Obama said of Hurricane Irene that "all indications point to this being a historic hurricane."
Numerous local, state and federal agencies, among other organizations, have taken steps in preparation. Here are some of those measures, for states most affected by Hurricane Irene:
Irene was off the South Carolina coast on Friday, with its outer bands bringing gusty winds, heavy rain and dangerous surf.
No evacuations were ordered, as the storm path appears to be too far east to present serious problems. However, state emergency officials were monitoring Irene and have contingency plans. The state emergency management agency is using its website, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to keep the public informed.
Hurricane Irene is expected to make its first contact with the U.S. mainland on Saturday morning near Beaufort, according to CNN meteorologist Sean Morris.
An ocean surge of up to 11 feet is possible in coastal North Carolina, tearing away beaches and probably damaging homes, businesses and other structures before sliding up the East Coast to New England, said National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read.
Ernie Seneca, a North Carolina government spokesman, told CNN Friday afternoon that authorities were concerned about the "entire eastern half of the state. This hurricane could potentially impact an area that includes 20 counties and 3.5 million people."
Some 32 counties have declared a local state of emergency, while shelters are open or ready-to-open in 26 counties, said Julia Jarema, a spokeswoman with North Carolina's emergency management division.
Gov. Bev Perdue has declared a state of emergency for counties east of Interstate 95.
On Friday evening, the governor said evacuations were under way in 18 counties.
Blackhawk helicopters and C-130 cargo planes are ready to respond after the storm passes, Perdue added. So, too, are 280 National Guard troops on the ground in eastern North Carolina.
Ferries have been shut down in North Carolina, with crews lashing down vessels so that they can ride out the storm.
Perdue was one of seven governors on a conference call with President Obama on Friday morning, talking about the storm.
Pamlico County Sheriff Bill Sawyer Jr. told CNN he talked with many fishermen and others who have been pulling their boats from the water and taking other precautions, adding "when they're concerned, it's something really to be concerned about." Still, he expressed confidence that residents will make it through the storm, saying, "I think people know what they're doing."
A mandatory evacuation order was in effect for residents and visitors in Hyde County, North Carolina, which includes Ocracoke Island, reachable only by boat or private plane, on the Outer Banks.
Nearby Dare County, which includes Manteo, Nags Head, Duck and historic Kitty Hawk, issued a mandatory evacuation order for tourists and residents. In a release early Friday evening, the county's emergency management agency warned that "those who do not evacuate should expect consequences," adding that emergency personnel will not be available. There are no shelters in the county, though there are two in Roanoke Rapids and Jackson, North Carolina.
Carteret County also issued a mandatory evacuation order for visitors in part of the county. On Friday, there will be a mandatory evacuation for all residents of Bogue Banks, said county spokesman Rodney Cates. Currituck County said all residents must leave by 8 a.m. Friday.
State and county emergency management agencies coordinated with the American Red Cross to open shelters for residents leaving the Outer Banks. Shelters were open in Nash and Wilson counties for visitors and residents from Hyde County. Other shelters were on standby in Halifax, Northampton and Onslow counties for other evacuees from the Outer Banks.
North Carolina Emergency Management officials were posting updates on Twitter, Facebook and on the Crime Control and Public Safety website.
Fort Bragg is one of several military sites that have been called to coordinate action with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to respond in the aftermath of the hurricane, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced Friday in a message to Defense Department personnel.
Gov. Bob McDonnell declared a state of emergency in Virginia on Thursday morning.
Among other measures, the declaration allows the 300 Virginia National Guard troops thus far deployed to the region to position resources at key locations in advance of severe weather hitting the commonwealth.
The governor told CNN on Friday night that he flew over coastal areas earlier in the day and saw the roads heading inland were "full of traffic, but moving." "I think they're heeding the warning," he said.
McDonnell warned of significant flooding, trees down, widespread power outages and possible water shortages if the storm debilitates water treatment plants.
Storm surges of 4 feet to 8 feet are possible in the Virginia Tidewater region, said the National Hurricane Center.
McDonnell was on a Friday morning conference call with the president and six other governors regarding the storm. Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim and Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms were also on the call.
The Hampton Roads region of Virginia is at greatest risk from Irene, the state's Department of Emergency Management says.
Winds could reach 95 mph in that area, and flooding is possible throughout the eastern end of the state, the agency said.
A declaration of emergency was declared Thursday afternoon in the coastal city of Norfolk. The city issued a mandatory evacuation order -- effective at 8 a.m. Saturday -- for residents in low-lying areas. A shelter will open at Granby High School at 6 p.m. Friday.
Some 38 U.S. Navy ships -- including 27 that were based out of Norfolk -- are out at sea, in order to minimize the impact from Hurricane Irene. This represents 13% of the U.S. Navy's deployable battle force ships.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Mayor Vincent Gray was among several mayors, as well as seven governors, on a conference call with Obama on Friday morning, talking about the storm.
In addition, the mayor said he's been in touch with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and gotten the full support of FEMA.
Washington could face hurricane conditions for roughly 24 hours, likely ending Sunday afternoon, the mayor said. He said 2 to 4 inches of rain could fall in the city, likely causing some flooding.
Gray declared a state of emergency for Washington late Friday afternoon as Hurricane Irene neared. The declaration opens up additional resources to deal with a storm that Gray said would "bring heavy rain, flash floods and high winds to the area."
On his Twitter feed, Gray alerted residents about emergency routes out of the city as well as Washington's hurricane preparations guide. He also informed people about the availability of sandbags for those wishing to stem flooding.
"A lot of stores are out already" of bottled water, said George Hawkins, general manager of the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority. He urged people to fill bottles with tap water.
The National Park Service is working to protect the Washington Monument from further damage, just days after it was cracked by a magnitude 5.8 earthquake, agency spokeswoman Carol Johnson said Friday. Engineers, some of them suspended on ropes, are working inside the monument to "plug holes and catch anything that they can't plug," she added. There are no plans to monitor the edifice during the storm. It will be evaluated after.
Sunday's planned dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial in Washington has been postponed to an undetermined date, said Harry Johnson, Sr., head of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Foundation. The last of the weekend's events was to be a national prayer service on Saturday, with a gala ball also canceled.
Gov. Martin O'Malley declared a state of emergency Thursday afternoon in advance of the storm. Residents of low-lying areas in the state were being asked to evacuate ahead of what the governor called "a very dangerous and potentially deadly hurricane."
The governor said Friday that "anybody that thinks that this is a normal hurricane and that they can just stick it out is being both selfish, stupid and also diverting essential public safety assets away from the task at hand, which is safeguarding lives and getting people out of the way."
O'Malley was also on a conference call about the hurricane early Friday, along with other state and local officials and the president.
Everyone in Ocean City was supposed to evacuate the area by 5 p.m. Friday, the city's emergency management office said in a news release. After that, only emergency personnel are to be allowed into the city. Public transportation in the city is to halt at the same hour. People are also being urged to move their vehicles to higher ground, so they won't be swept away by fast-moving waters.
Ocean City's wastewater treatment plant will be taken offline at 6 p.m. Saturday. The system is expected to go back online late Sunday.
A state of emergency has been declared in the state capital, Annapolis, where additional police officers will be deployed to assist the public during and after the storm, Mayor Joshua Cohen said Friday. The city will ration remaining sandbags, and residents can park for free in four city garages.
The Maryland Emergency Management Agency was providing links to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The agency's website has a link to an interactive map to help residents identify flood-prone areas.
The Silopanna Music Festival scheduled for Saturday at the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds in Maryland was canceled.
The office of Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced that sandbags would be available to residents as well as business owners at four locations. In addition, the city's Emergency Operation Center will open at 7 a.m. Friday to plan for the maintenance of essential services during the storm.
Gov. Jack Markell declared a state of emergency at 6 p.m. Thursday. The announcement included a "mandatory evacuation of visitors" in coastal areas, adding it is "highly likely" that there eventually will be mandatory evacuations for residents of some areas.
In a statement, the Delaware Emergency Management Agency urged those who had planned to visit the state this weekend to "postpone plans immediately."
The governor said more than a foot of rain could fall in some locations along with the coast, with 9 to 10 inches possible in inland parts of Sussex, Kent and New Castle counties.
Thirteen Air Force and Army aircraft are being evacuated from Delaware to avoid damage, according to the National Guard. But there were no plans to evacuate people from military bases.
Army Maj. Gen. Francis Vavala, adjutant general of the Delaware National Guard, said 200 Guard members could respond within hours if requested by the governor and 500 more could be ready within 48 hours.
Markell was one of the seven governors on a conference call with Obama on Friday morning, talking about the storm.
"Have a plan, get a kit and stay informed," Delaware Emergency Management Agency Director Jamie Turner said. "We want everyone to have food and water for at least three days, batteries for lights and radios and a means of charging cell phones.
"Remember that part of your emergency plan is to have a destination in mind if you have to evacuate. If officials instruct you to evacuate, please do it."
Rainfall from Irene -- expected to be as much as 7 inches in the Philadelphia area -- could cause the Schuylkill River and other bodies of water to flood. Tidal flooding along the Delaware River is also possible.
Gov. Tom Corbett declared a state of emergency on Friday.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority will halt service from about midnight Saturday to until after Irene has passed, which is expected to happen about mid-day Sunday. Service will resume "on a route by route basis," the transportation agency said.
"It is strongly recommended that Philadelphians living in flood-prone areas make alternative arrangements to stay with family or friends whose homes are not prone to flooding for the course of this event and until the flooding threat subsides," Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter's office said.
On Friday, Nutter said Philadelphia was on hurricane warning status in anticipation of expected localized flooding and power outages that could last hours or days.
No evacuation order is being issued for the city, though Nutter urged residents to use common sense and leave if necessary.
Three shelters -- with a capacity of 1,500 and capable of expanding to 6,000 -- will open in Philadelphia starting at 6 p.m. Saturday. All parks and recreation centers will close at the same time.
The Philadelphia Phillies' scheduled game on Sunday against the Florida Marlins now will be played as part of a day/night doubleheader at 1:05 p.m. Saturday.
Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency and urged people to leave New Jersey shore points before the hurricane arrives.
If the hurricane continues on its current track, then "from a flooding perspective, this could be a 100-year event," Christie said.
Three-to-six foot storm surges could occur on the New Jersey shore, said National Hurricane Center director Read.
The governor ordered the opening of the Ramapo River floodgates, in hopes of lessening the potential flooding from the storm. The plan is to open the floodgates about 1.5 feet, so that Pompton Lake will drop 3 feet below the spillway by Friday evening.
Starting at 8 a.m. Friday, tolls were suspended temporarily on the Garden State Parkway south of the Raritan River and the Atlantic City Expressway. New Jersey Transit also will suspend service at noon Saturday.
The southbound lanes of the Garden State Parkway closed past exit 98 at 8 p.m. Friday.
There will be no eastbound traffic on routes 47 and 347 in Cape May County, with all those lanes instead being used for westward-bound traffic starting at 6 p.m. Friday.
The state's emergency preparedness website warned of the danger of a hurricane storm surge: "The storm surge is a dome of ocean water the hurricane pushes ahead of itself. At its peak a storm surge can be 25 feet high and 50-100 miles wide. The storm surge can devastate coastal communities as it sweeps ashore."
Atlantic City and the surrounding barrier islands will have a mandatory evacuation in place at 6 a.m. Friday, according to Linda Gilmore, Atlantic County's public information officer. The evacuation will extend from Seaville to as far north as Galloway Township, and include only areas east of Route 9.
Mandatory evacuations are in effect for all residents of Bay Head and Mantoloking and many residents in Point Pleasant Beach, according to the latter borough's website. Shelters are set up at Toms River North High School and Wall Township High School, with the Point Pleasant Beach High School serving as a staging area to shuttle people to safer locales between 7 to 11 a.m. Saturday.
The start of the NFL preseason game between the New York Giants and New York Jets, set for the stadium the teams share in East Rutherford, New Jersey, has been pushed up to a 2 p.m. Saturday start-time, the teams' announced on their websites. The game had been scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst is one of three military sites that will be used as bases for coordinated action with FEMA to respond to the aftermaths of the hurricane, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced Friday in a message to Defense Department personnel.
A hurricane warning was issued late Friday afternoon for an area that includes New York City and Long Island, among other northeastern locales.
About the same time, Obama declared a state of emergency for New York state due to the storm.
Irene's current track could make it the most destructive hurricane to strike New York City since 1938.
"The sun is shining, but don't be misled," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters Friday afternoon. "There is a very dangerous storm heading in our direction. There is no question that we are going to be with wind and high water that is very dangerous."
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered the National Guard to deploy up to 900 soldiers. The Metropolitan Transit Authority will institute a systemwide shutdown when trains and buses begin their final runs at noon Saturday; the shutdown will include subways, buses, Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and Access-A-Ride.
If winds exceed 60 mph, the George Washington Bridge, Tappan Zee Bridge, Triborough Bridge, Queensborough Bridge and possibly others will be ordered closed. The same goes for these bridges over the Hudson River: the Bear Mountain Bridge, Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, Mid-Hudson Bridge in Poughkeepsie, Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge and Rip Van Winkle Bridge in the Catskills.
To speed the evacuation process, Cuomo announced that tolls will not need to be paid at numerous bridges, including the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge, Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge, Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, Throgs Neck Bridge and Bronx-Whitestone Bridge.
In addition, people riding buses throughout New York City do not have pay fares. Subway and rail rides from stations in the mandatory evacuation area also are free.
At 3 p.m. Friday, Suffolk County ordered mandatory evacuations of barrier beach communities, particularly those on the western end of Fire Island, county spokesman Mark Smith said. Further evacuations in low-lying, beachside communities -- including parts of the Hamptons and Montauk -- could be mandated Saturday morning, he added.
A mandatory evacuation order also has been issued for some low-lying areas of all five boroughs of New York City, Bloomberg said Friday. The mandatory order includes Coney Island and Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn; Far Rockaway and Broad Channel in Queens; South Beach, Midland Beach and other low-lying areas on Staten Island; and Battery Park City in Manhattan. It is the first such order in the city's history, the mayor said.
"If you live in Zone A or the Rockaways, you have to move," Bloomberg said.
New York's Taxi and Limousine Commission announced Friday evening that, starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, it will dispatch more cabs than normal into low-lying areas where evacuations have been ordered. The drivers and riders will have a special "zone fare" system and other new rules, including mandating that pets be allowed on board and encouraging people to ride in groups.
In addition, Bloomberg told reporters that 91 emergency facilities -- which, among other things, will serve as shelters -- are expected to open around New York City at 4 p.m. Friday.
NYC.gov, the city's website, crashed intermittently due to excessive web traffic that Bloomberg said was roughly three times as much as normal.
City crews were hurrying to clean out storm drains and catch basins to minimize street flooding, Bloomberg said at a news conference.
Five city hospitals located in low-lying areas were being evacuated Friday afternoon, said Susan Craig, a spokeswoman for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. They include Coney Island Hospital, the New York University Hospitals Center, the Veterans Administration hospital in Manhattan, and the Staten Island University and the Staten Island University North facilities.
In addition, eight nursing homes in Brooklyn and Queens, eight adult care facilities in those two boroughs as well as Staten Island, and the South Beach Psychiatric Center in Staten Island are being evacuated, according to Craig.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced Friday night that five airports it operates -- John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia, Newark Liberty, Teterboro and Stewart -- would be closed as of noon Saturday to all arriving international and domestic flights.
Several airlines -- including Delta, Southwest, United and Continental -- have announced they'll suspend operations Sunday, and in some cases on Saturday as well, out of Kennedy, LaGuardia and other New York City metropolitan airports.
Albany International Airport in New York is working to safeguard the terminal, airfield and aircraft, said John O'Donnell, the CEO of the Albany County Airport Authority. "Our goal is to ensure the safety of travelers, staff and equipment and be prepared to resume full operations by Monday morning," he said.
Several schools in and around New York City, including Columbia University and New York University, have pushed back their students' move-in dates due to the hurricane.
Cuomo on Thursday declared a state of emergency for Bronx, Kings, New York, Queen, Richmond, Nassau and Suffolk counties, as well as contiguous areas that are potentially in the storm's path. He was one of seven governors on a conference call with President Obama on Friday morning, talking about the impending storm.
All Broadway performances scheduled for Saturday and Sunday are being canceled because of the suspension of public transportation in New York as Hurricane Irene approaches, officials said.
The NFL preseason game between the New York Jets and New York Giants -- once scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Saturday, then moved to a 2 p.m. Saturday start-time -- has been postponed. The game, instead, will be played Monday night, the teams announced on their website.
A hurricane warning is in effect for southern Connecticut, along the Long Island Sound, and a tropical storm watch is in effect for the northern part of the state ahead of Hurricane Irene's expected arrival around 10 a.m. Sunday.
In a news conference, Gov. Dannel Malloy urged "all Connecticut citizens and all public officials to take this event as seriously as any event that we have ever prepared for."
The state's emergency operations center has been fully activated, and there have been regular meetings involving state and local officials.
Nearly 33,000 sandbags had been distributed to state residents as of 11 a.m. Friday, the governor and emergency management and homeland security department said in a joint "situation report."
The town of Old Saybrook has declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the storm, according to the state.
The governor declared a state of emergency Thursday afternoon, saying "the forecast path of Hurricane Irene has convinced me that the signing of this declaration is necessary, and will help us react more quickly and effectively in the event of a serious weather event."
The New Haven Open, the final WTA tune-up before next week's U.S. Open, moved its championship match at Yale to 1 p.m. from 5 p.m. Saturday to avoid the storm.
First Selectman Michael Tetreau on Friday declared a state of emergency, effective immediately, in Fairfield. All town facilities -- including parks, playing fields, beaches and libraries -- will be closed starting at 8 a.m. Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for some parts of the town beginning at noon Saturday, with a shelter opening then at Ludlow High School.
Gov. Deval Patrick on Friday afternoon issued a state of emergency for the commonwealth. Hours earlier, he was one of seven governors on a conference call with President Obama about the hurricane.
A hurricane warning was issued later Friday for the South Coast part of the state east to Sagamore Beach, on Cape Cod, as well as Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.
The MBTA, which runs Boston's subway service known as the "T" and other public transportation, said Friday that it was not planning on suspending service, as is being done in New York City and Philadelphia. The agency plans to have "extra personnel and equipment" on hand throughout the system in an "effort to prevent any disruptions in service," the MBTA announced on its website. "Work crews are ready to respond to any storm-related issues that may emerge."
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency website features numerous articles on hurricane preparation and safety, including how to keep pets safe.
It gives instructions for following evacuation orders should that become necessary.
There is also a Cape Cod emergency traffic plan.
The Kenny Chesney concert at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro was moved from Sunday to Friday.
The Boston Red Sox will no longer have a Sunday afternoon game with the Oakland Athletics, moving that contest to Saturday, the team announced in a press release. That game will start at 5 p.m. as part of a split doubleheader, following a first game set to begin at noon.
Westover Air Reserve Base is one of several military sites that have been called to coordinate action with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to respond in the aftermath of the hurricane, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced Friday in a message to defense department personnel.
Coastal Rhode Island, including Block Island, are under a hurricane warning, which was issued late Friday afternoon.
Gov. Lincoln Chaffee signed a disaster emergency declaration on Friday, after concluding "there is no doubt that Rhode Island will be hit with high winds, a storm surge and rain."
The governor said he's been in close contact with mayors and town managers, and added that "individual preparation is essential."
Emergency Management Agency officials, during a press conference on Thursday, urged residents to put together emergency kits to tide them over for up to three days. There were no immediate plans for evacuations. Lt. Col. Denis Riel, spokesman for the Rhode Island National Guard, said personal preparedness is important. "It's not a matter of if it hits us it's when," he said.
Saturday's Newport Bucket Regatta, a yachting event in Rhode Island, has been canceled. A gala dinner was moved up to Friday.
New Hampshire's population has surged since the Great New England Hurricane of 1938 killed 13 people and caused $22 million (in 1938 dollars) in damage, the state's readiness site says.
"A repeat of this event today would be devastating," it says. "The state's population has more than doubled since 1938 and much of that population growth has been in areas near the coast or inland waterways. There are many more people in harm's way today."
The New Hampshire Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the American Red Cross in New Hampshire have posted recommendations for hurricane preparations. Governor Lynch and state officials are also closely coordinating with local emergency officials to ensure the state's preparedness for the impending storm. The Governor has directed the state Emergency Operations Center to be opened.
The Penobscot Narrows Bridge Observatory was closed at noon Friday, the Maine Department of Transportation announced. The observatory is expected to reopen at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Storm covers are being installed in hopes of preventing water from getting in during the storm.
Lobstermen can now haul and move lobster traps anytime, after the state's Marine Resources department lifted existing restrictions on nights and weekends.
The Maine Marine Patrol urged all people in boats to secure their vessels ahead of the coming storm.
The state's emergency management agency offered information on its website informing people of what they can do to minimize damage and maximize safety as the hurricane approaches.
Acting Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa has asked Maine residents to review their homeowner and renter insurance policies to determine if they will be covered in the event of massive flooding.
"Be prepared, and 'stay tuned,'" Maine Emergency Management Agency Director Rob McAleer said on the agency website.
"Irene could bring heavy rains, high winds, storm surge or any combination of those things. Pay close attention to weather forecasts, and start now to think about your personal emergency plans. You want to give yourself enough time to take care of your home, business or boat before the storm arrives."
CNN's Larry Shaughnessy, Chris Lawrence, Susan Candiotti, Jim Kavanaugh, Dan Mercia and Sarah Hoye contributed to this report.