LONG BEACH TOWNSHIP - (AP) - Many people on the New Jerseyshore appear to be heeding Gov. Chris Christie's call tovoluntarily evacuate ahead of Hurricane Irene.

On Long Beach Island, the state's longest barrier island, therewere lines at gas stations Thursday afternoon and many people werepacking up. The governor asked seaside visitors to leave by middayFriday and for anyone planning a shore trip this weekend to stayhome.

Irene is churning over the Bahamas and heading toward NorthCarolina. Most forecasts show it zipping straight up the East Coastand being over or near New Jersey sometime Sunday.

Forecasters say that it's likely to cause floods and toppletrees in the rain-soaked state even if it doesn't make land.