Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Earl weakens but still powerful as it smacks North Carolina

The surf pounds the Oceana Pier at Atlantic Beach, N.C., on Thursday as Hurricane Earl approaches. Top winds had dropped from 140 mph early Thursday to 105 mph by 11 p.m.

Associated Press

The surf pounds the Oceana Pier at Atlantic Beach, N.C., on Thursday as Hurricane Earl approaches. Top winds had dropped from 140 mph early Thursday to 105 mph by 11 p.m.

BUXTON, N.C. — The last ferry left for the mainland and coastal residents hunkered down at home as Hurricane Earl closed in with 105 mph winds Thursday on North Carolina's dangerously exposed Outer Banks, the first and perhaps most destructive stop on the storm's projected journey up the Eastern Seaboard.

The hurricane's squalls began to lash the long ribbon of barrier islands Thursday night. Gusts above 40 mph made signs shake and the heavy rain fall sideways in Buxton, the southeasternmost tip of the Outer Banks.

Earl's winds were slowing, from 140 mph early Thursday to 105 mph, Category 2 strength, by late Thursday. But forecasters warned that it remained powerful, with hurricane-force winds of 74 mph or more extending 70 miles from its center and tropical storm-force winds of at least 35 mph reaching more than 200 miles out.

National Weather Service meteorologist Hal Austin said the eye was expected to get as close as 55 miles east of the Outer Banks about 2 a.m. The coast is expected to be lashed by hurricane-force winds for a couple of hours with a storm surge of up to 5 feet and waves 18 feet high.

Earl's arrival could mark the start of at least 24 hours of stormy, windy weather along the East Coast. During its march up the Atlantic, it could snarl Labor Day weekend plans and strike a second forceful blow to the vacation homes and cottages on Long Island, Nantucket Island and Cape Cod. Forecast models showed the most likely place Earl will make landfall is western Nova Scotia, Canada, where it could still be a hurricane, Ed Rappaport, National Hurricane Center deputy director, said.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Rhode Island Gov. Donald Carcieri declared a state of emergency. Similar declarations were made in North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland.

As of Thursday night, the only evacuations ordered were on the Outer Banks, which sticks out into the Atlantic Ocean like the side-view mirror on a car, vulnerable to a sideswiping. About 35,000 tourists and residents were urged to leave.

A slow winding down was expected to continue as the storm moved into cooler waters, but forecasters warned the size of the wind field was increasing, similar to what happened when Hurricane Katrina approached the Gulf Coast five years ago. "It will be bigger. The storm won't be as strong, but they spread out as they go north and the rain will be spreading from New England," Bill Read, National Hurricane Center director, said.

In North Carolina, the end of an already dilapidated wooden pier in Frisco, one of the villages on Hatteras Island, collapsed after being battered by high surf Thursday. It had been closed because of past storm damage.

Hundreds of the Outer Banks' more hardy residents gassed up their generators and planned to hunker down behind their boarded-up windows, even though officials warned them that it could be three days before they could expect any help and that storm surge could again slice through the islands. It took crews two months to fill the breach and rebuild the only road to the mainland when Hurricane Isabel carved a 2,000-foot-wide channel in 2003.

Forecasters said that after Earl passes the Outer Banks, a kink in the jetstream over the eastern U.S. should push the storm away from the coast, guiding it like a marble in a groove.

Earl is expected to move north-northeast for much of today, staying away from New Jersey and the other mid-Atlantic states, but passing very close to Long Island, Cape Cod and Nantucket, which could get gusts up to 100 mph. The storm is expected to finally move ashore in Canada sometime Saturday afternoon.

The storm is likely to disrupt travel as people try to squeeze in a few more days of summer vacation over Labor Day. Continental Airlines canceled 50 departures from Newark, N.J., on its Continental Connection and Continental Express routes along the East Coast, beginning Thursday night. Other airlines were watching the forecast and waiving fees for changing flights. Amtrak canceled trains to Newport News, near Virginia's coast, from Richmond, Va., and Washington. Ferry operators across the Northeast warned their service would likely be interrupted.

Earl weakens but still powerful as it smacks North Carolina 09/02/10 [Last modified: Thursday, September 2, 2010 11:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally

    Business

    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Kushner to testify before two intelligence committees

    Politics

    WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is set to make a second appearance on Capitol Hill — he will speak with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, one day after he is scheduled to speak with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators behind closed doors.

    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. [Associated Press]
  3. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  4. Exhumation of Dalí's remains finds his mustache still intact

    World

    FIGUERES, Spain — Forensic experts in Spain have removed hair, nails and two long bones from Salvador Dalí's embalmed remains to aid a court-ordered paternity test that may enable a woman who says she is the surrealist artist's daughter to claim part of Dalí's vast estate.

    Salvador Dal? died in 1989 leaving vast estate.
  5. Sessions discussed Trump campaign-related matters with Russian ambassador, U.S. intelligence intercepts show

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — Russia's ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, current and former U.S. …

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation after meetings with an ambassador were revealed.