Virginia Beach tourists, business owners prepare for Irene

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (WWBT) - Tourists are fleeing Virginia Beach ahead of Irene.

This as businesses along the main strip batten down. Tourists are cutting their vacations short, a national surfing competition is scaling back its event and businesses aren't waiting until the last minute to board up.

The usual hustle and bustle on Atlantic Avenue replaced by all too familiar sounds during hurricane season.

"Just making it reinforced so it will withstand Irene," said John Fittro.

Fittro stocked up on supplies early.

"We knew if we wait until today there wouldn't be any plywood left," said Fittro.

Robins Kellim also doesn't want to leave anything to chance.

"We're getting everything up off the floor; we're boarding the windows," said Kellim.

Out on the beach, a surfers dream.

"Surf has been fantastic and as you can tell great weather, but we know what's coming," said

Paul West with the Coastal Edge East Coast Surfing Championships. But a competition watched live by millions is scaling back. Some of the scaffolding, where the judges sit, is coming down now. The concert tent lowered and equipment boxed up. Saturday's festivities scrapped.

"All we can do is prepare and watch," said West.

The Virginia Beach Visitors Center is closing its doors for the weekend. Many tourists, already in town, like Allison Kasten are saying good-bye to Virginia beach early.

"When we first got here there was a little bit of an earthquake. It was like a little tremor. We said I don't know. We stayed anyway and now Hurricane Irene is coming toward us," said Kasten.

But she's from New York, where Irene is headed once it's finished with the south.

"I'm a little bit nervous," said Kasten.

The surfing competition hopes to pick up where it left off today on Sunday. Virginia Beach is shutting down libraries, rec centers and parks for the weekend. It's also one of several communities that has ordered evacuations of low-lying areas.

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