Wednesday, September 1, 2010

N.C. declares state of emergency ahead of Earl

North Carolina's governor declared a state of emergency Wednesday as evacuation of the coast ahead of Hurricane Earl continues.

Earl's strongest winds are expected to reach the coast Thursday night into Friday morning. Perdue warned residents along the Outer Banks to leave those areas immediately.
Already, hundreds of cars were backed up in traffic on N.C. Highway 12, the sole link between the fragile barrier islands and the mainland.
At 2 p.m., Earl's winds were topping out at 125 mph, less than the 135 mph it had reached earlier this week during its trek across the Atlantic. An Air Force reconnaissance plane, however, indicated that the storm appeared to be re-strengthening, and could reach Category 4 status by later today.
Earl was quickly moving at 17 mph toward the northwest, a motion expected to continue until a gradually turning the north Thursday.
Hurricane-force winds extend 90 miles from the center of circulation, and tropical storm-force winds extend outward 200 miles.

The next update from the National Weather Service is due at 5 p.m.

Find the latest maps, advisories and particulars on Earl here.

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