BALTIMORE (WJZ)–Gov. Martin O’Malley has declared a state of emergency in preparation for Hurricane Irene.

Weijia Jiang explains the time to prepare is now.

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State leaders say they can’t stress it enough. That now is not the time to procrastinate nor is it a time to doubt just how powerful the storm could be for the area. They’re asking everyone to have a plan in place before it is too late.

As Hurricane Irene tears up the eastern seaboard with Maryland in her sight, state leaders warn there should not be too much calm before this storm.

“Now is the time for action. Do not wait for tomorrow,” said Sgt. Art Windemuth, National Resources Police.

Natural Resources Police are getting crews in place to deploy to emergencies.   At the U.S. Coast Guard shipyard in Baltimore, officers are closely monitoring the water. Anticipating monster winds, they’ve taped up all windows of the command center. Also, they’re pulling non-essential rescue boats to safety– urging the public to do the same.

“When we get hurricane or gale force conditions, even our own assets and the men and women in the Coast Guard, we’re not going to be able to send them out in harm’s way to help somebody else. So, our warning is just to stay off the water,” said Lt. Randall Brown, U.S. Coast Guard.

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Back on land, people are getting ready too, with the rush to stock up. By mid-Thursday, most major hardware or department stores ran out of generators.

“We have an 88-year-old great aunt who lives in Greektown, and we figured it would be safer for her to have flashlights in the house than lighting candles if the power goes out,” said Michael Kosmas, of Baltimore.

Baltimore resident Lisa Shanton has a game plan: “to the market, water, milk, eggs, bread, lunchmeat, so we can have just in case something goes out. We already have a cooler. Get some ice.”

Also in high demand: sand bags, wet vacuums, humidifiers.

“Anything right now because people are in a panic to get supplies for the hurricane,” said Nick Sypridakos, Home Depot employee.

Many stores say they are getting extra shipments of generators. So, if you want one, they advise you to call and be put on a waiting list. Also, Baltimore City is providing sand bags to flood prone areas. You can pick them up at the former ESPN Zone downtown, the Broadway Pier and Rash Field.

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Ocean City, Md. Orders Pre-Hurricane Evacuations. Click here to read more.