VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (WWBT) - In the hours before the storm, more businesses in Virginia Beach boarded up windows. But there were still some people on the beach eager to see what Earl does.
The plywood went up, as some businesses closed up shop for the night. Not so much to protect the glass windows from the expected tropical storm force winds, but to keep them from shattering when gravel flies off hotel rooftops. Some are taking storm preparations more seriously than others, even placing sandbags at the doors.
Atlantic Avenue thinned out as Earl inched closer.
"People are coming and going. They're eating on the run and taking their food to go," said Desmond Hicks who owns Deja Blu restaurant and bar.
On the beach, onlookers kept a safe distance from the rough surf.
"I'm just glad I'm not in the Outer Banks. At least out here we can enjoy it," said Karen Shackley.
"Just to see what the waves look like and feel the breeze," said Don Fauver.
"Stay as long as we can stand up," said Andrew Fauver.
Diane Fleming and her husband George don't have too much experience with hurricanes.
"We come down and see beforehand - took my camera so I can Facebook it," said Diane Fleming.
They're from upstate New York.
"We're used to dealing with six feet of snow at a time, so this is kind of nice," said Fleming.
They've got food, water and a generator ready at home in case of power loss. Back on the strip, Hicks says he has a well stocked kitchen and full staff. He plans to stay open late unless Earl changes course.
"Earl doesn't fret me right now. I believe in God and I believe it's going to twist out like they say it's going to go," said Hicks.