Tropical Storm Hanna is forecast to lumber into North Carolina on Saturday morning, dumping rain in stop-start bursts and whipping the Triangle with 40 mph winds.
The tropical cyclone that teased the state for a week is expected to wrap up the worst of its show by dawn and spare the state major damage.
On the coast, half the businesses in downtown Wilmington shut their doors early Friday, some hammering plywood over their windows rather than risk Hanna damage. But storm-seasoned residents figured their skittish neighbors had their eye on the weekend rather than the storm.
"People just need an excuse for a day off," said Shauna Cooper, working in a downtown coffee shop.
In the Triangle, forecasters expected up to 5 inches of rain and issued a flash-flood warning as Hanna advanced. By 7 p.m. Friday, water had already begun to back up city storm drains and vendors began packing up their hot dogs from the Raleigh Wide Open festival downtown.
Only the heartiest remained, hopeful but soggy.
"Everybody's going to see Chuck Berry," said Chasity Miller from Norlina, selling hand-painted yard signs on Fayetteville Street. "Our mama and daddy just left."
On the Outer Banks, Hanna caught some vacationers cold. Tim and Rhonda Wampler of Chesapeake City, Md., thought they had it figured out: Take their four kids to the Outer Banks when everyone else's are in school.
"We wanted to go in September when it was nice and quiet and peaceful," said Tim, whose children are home-schooled. "And then, wham!"