"We have a pretty big warehouse back there, so anything we can do to protect the business," said Jim Lassiter of Mattress Discounters.
The last of the tourists, some 30,000 in all, obeyed orders to leave.
(Scroll down below to watch video reports from Kelly Cobiella in N.C., Elaine Quijano in N.Y. and Dean Reynolds in Mass.)
"We get hurt more with the flooding and that is what worries me," said Carolyn Bullock of Ocean Waves Campground. "It's just frightening."
Locals stocked up on supplies and generators. One store sold 60 generations by noon to people like Shane Moore. He and many of his neighbors are staying put.
"One day it might come back to bite everybody, but hopefully it won't this time," said Shane Moore.
Bill Jones owns two beachfront homes.
"I think people should leave," said Jones.
An angry sea is already at his back stairs, along with a notice on his front door that advices all residents to evacuate immediately.
On the eastern tip of Long Island, N.Y., the wind is already whipping up the waves and all Suffolk County beaches have been ordered closed until Sat. morning, reports CBS News correspondent Elaine Quijano.
The concern there is wind damage when Earl is expected to brush past around 8 p.m. Fri. night with possibly wind gusts of 75 MPH.
Utility workers from as far away as Mich. began rolling onto Long Island today.
They'll be on standby in case the strong winds bring down power lines and trees. 1,600 extra workers will join almost 700 already on Long Island. The Red Cross has also started moving storm supplies into place just in case.
Some residents are boarding up windows.
The storm surge is expected to be three feet, but authorities say they aren't really worried about that.
Residents in Cape Cod, Mass. - which juts right into Earl's projected path - are also bracing tonight, reports CBS News Correspondent Dean Reynolds.
Hurricane warnings are already in effect there, an early sign of what promises to be a Labor Day weekend to remember.
(At left: This graphic shows the probability of hurricane-force winds hitting the east coast from Hurricane Earl through 3 p.m. Sept. 4, 2010.)
(At left: This graphic shows the probability of tropical storm-force winds hitting the east coast from Hurricane Earl through 3 p.m. Sept. 4, 2010.)