Governor Roy Cooper has issued a mandatory evacuation of the barrier islands and there is a mad dash to get out of the danger zone.
Cooper has taken the unprecedented measure as the monstrous hurricane continues to glide across the Atlantic gaining strength.
"We think this storm is so fierce we need the added incentive of a state evacuation order," said Cooper.
Folks are fleeing coastal communities and seeking a safe refuge for the next several days inland.
"I have to hope everything is fine at the house when I get back," said Wilmington resident Ashley Hodges while getting choked up. "That's all I'm worried about...when I pull up, I would just hate to see anything destroyed."
State officials believe the Triangle is a safe place to go.
Some evacuees are fleeing North Carolina all together. They are flying north or to the Midwest.
Eighty-year-old Judith Price said she has too many health problems to stay in a state that could see the vast devastation and widespread power outages.
"I don't walk very far and I need oxygen," she said.
UNC-Wilmington students have also been fleeing. Their parents bought last-minute tickets.
"Usually you ride it out, but I think it was just smart to leave," said NAINOA Cooper-Rider.