Hurricane Arthur moves to crash America's birthday party

NAGS HEAD, N.C. - Residents on Thursday evacuated the coast of North Carolina, with the season's first hurricane expected to hit or brush the area early Friday.

Watches and warnings are posted along the coast of the Carolinas and parts of the New England coast with Arthur expected to head up that way on Friday.

Arthur now is a Category 1 hurricane, with sustained winds as high as 90 miles an hour. It's expected to grow to a Category 2 in the hours ahead.

Arthur is expected to grow to a Category 2 hurricane in the next hours CBS News

It is decision time for the nearly quarter of a million people on the Outer Banks. Some have decided to evacuate, while many more have chosen to ride out the storm.

Hurricane Arthur intensifies as it nears North Carolina coast

On Hatteras Island, a mandatory evacuation order went into effect, as officials feared the highway to the mainland could become impassable.

"I would like to see a little bit of what Arthur's going to do, but a little bit afraid to stay," one woman said.

In Nags Head, police went door to door to keep track of who was staying and to warn them about flooding.

"There may be a time where we won't be able to respond if you guys have an emergency or anything like that," an officer said.

Some residents and visitors are evacuating; others are planning to ride out the storm CBS News

Mary Jo McKenzie has chosen to stay at her beach front home. She's going ahead with a family party over the holiday weekend.

"Besides the storm shaking the house, there'll be some people shaking the house," she said.

What does it feel like when her house is shaking?

"It will be loud, you'll hear a roar, it will be roaring," she said.

Officials have warned everyone to stay out of the ocean during the storm, fearing dangerous rip currents. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory had some simple advice.

"I just want to also say to everyone, stay safe," he said. "I've mentioned this before to citizens: Don't put your stupid hat on."

Officials fear the storm could be similar to Hurricane Irene CBS News

There is a fear Arthur may be similar to Hurricane Irene three years ago. That hurricane made landfall on the Outer Banks as a Category 1 storm, killing seven people in North Carolina and causing more than $1 billion in damage.

The National Weather Service says a storm surge of three to five feet of water at high tide could cause flooding in areas from Surf City, North Carolina, all the way to the Virginia border.

Officials also say those who stay should stock up on enough provisions to last for at least 72 hours after the storm rolls out.