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Hurricane Earl weakening en route to Outer Banks, New England; Gaston waffling

With Hurricane Earl swirling toward the U.S. coast Thursday, Gaston fluctuated between tropical storm and depression strength in the eastern Atlantic.

Florida will be largely spared the effects of Earl, but the hurricane promises to bring dramatic surf, dangerous rip currents and monster waves to the state's East Coast.

A Category 3 storm with 115 mph sustained winds at 5 p.m., Earl was expected to pass near the Outer Banks of North Carolina Thursday night and approach southeastern New England by Friday night. At 11 a.m. Thursday, Earl was a Category 4 storm with 145 mph winds.

A hurricane warning was in effect for most of the North Carolina coast, according to the National Hurricane Center, along with parts of New England.

Most of the remainder of the U.S. coast, from the southern border of North Carolina to northeast Maine, was covered by a tropical storm warning or watch.

Hurricane-force winds extend out 90 miles from Earl's center and tropical storm force winds extend 230 miles.

Earl is generally moving north near 18 mph. It is expected to turn north-northeast on Friday

Hurricane forecasters said Gaston had sustained winds of 30 mph at 5 p.m. and was moving west at 5 mph. At 5 a.m. Thursday it had reached tropical storm strength with 40 mph winds. It was expected to gradually strengthen over the next two days.

Bermuda was under a tropical storm watch early Thursday as Tropical Storm Fiona was expected to pass near the area Saturday morning.

Fiona has sustained winds near 50 mph and is moving north-northwest near 17 mph.

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Hurricane Earl track and forecast position

Weather Underground Inc. | Interactive map

Tropical Depression Gaston and forecast position

Weather Underground Inc. | Interactive map

Hurricane Earl weakening en route to Outer Banks, New England; Gaston waffling 09/02/10 [Last modified: Thursday, September 2, 2010 4:52pm]
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