Earl threatens East Coast With 125 Mph Winds

The last ferries pulled away from North Carolina's vulnerable barrier islands Thursday as Hurricane Earl spun closer with winds near 125 mph, putting the East Coast all the way to Canada on alert for what could be a blustery next several days. A hurricane warning was issued for the tip of Massachusetts, including Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. New hurricane and tropical storm warnings and watches were issued for parts of Canada, adding to those already in effect from North Carolina to near the Canadian border. With winds expected to whip up in North Carolina's Outer Banks by Thursday evening, Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate said residents and tourists could no longer afford to wait on the next forecast to see how close the eye of the storm might get. "People should not be lulled into a false sense that this will steer away from them," Fugate said. "Time will be running out for people who have not gotten ready." The final state-operated ferry was leaving Ocracoke Island in North Carolina at 3 p.m. for its 40-minute route to neighboring Hatteras Island. Other ferries had already stopped running earlier in the day. Earl weakened slightly as it moved toward the coast about 245 miles south of Cape Hatteras on Thursday, but it was still a dangerous Category 3 storm. Hurricane force winds were beginning to spread farther from the eye, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said. The center's director, Bill Read, said hurricane force winds were spread 90 miles out and widening. The eye of the storm will likely remain about 30 to 75 miles east of the Outer Banks, meaning at the closest point of approach, the western edge of the eyewall could impact Cape Hatteras with huge waves, beach erosion and maybe some property damage. "They're going to have a full impact of a major hurricane," Read said. There will be a similar close approach later this week for the eastern tip of Long Island, Rhode Island, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket. That will me