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Hurricane Earl may bring dangerous riptides to Florida's east coast

Hurricane Earl, now a Category 4 storm, barreled toward the U.S. coast after battering islands in the northeastern Caribbean.

The storm was expected to stay far to the east of Florida.

Earl's impact could be felt anywhere from the Carolinas to New England and all the way north to parts of Canada, forecasters said.

"There's still so much uncertainty," said Bay News 9 meteorologist Juli Marquez.

Earl battered several northeastern Caribbean islands with heavy rains and high winds, downing power lines, damaging homes and flooding low-lying areas.

But by Monday night, Earl was moving away from the Caribbean with sustained winds of 135 mph, moving west-northwest at 13 mph early Tuesday. Category 4 hurricanes have sustained winds between 131 and 155 mph.

Earl could kick up dangerous riptides across Florida's east coast, Marquez said. A surfer died in Florida in waves spawned by Danielle, which weakened to a tropical storm Monday in the north Atlantic.

Behind Earl, Tropical Storm Fiona remained weak, with sustained winds of 40 mph — but forecasters said the storm could slowly develop over the next two days as it approaches the northern Leeward Islands. It was expected to pass near or northeast of the islands early Wednesday. Fiona was moving west-northwest around 23 mph Tuesday morning.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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Hurricane Earl may bring dangerous riptides to Florida's east coast 08/31/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 11:48am]
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