Hurricane Watch For Earl Possible Along East Coast

A hurricane watch may be issued for parts of the Eastern Seaboard today with Hurricane Earl expected to cruise parallel to the coastline this week. A hurricane watch means hurricane force winds are possible in 36 hours. The Federal Emergency Management Agency warned people along the Eastern Seaboard to prepare for possible evacuations and islanders in the Turks and Caicos hunkered down in their homes today as the Category 4 hurricane steamed across the Caribbean with winds of 135 mph. Earl was expected to remain over the open ocean before turning north and running parallel to the East Coast, bringing high winds and heavy rain to North Carolina's Outer Banks by late Thursday or early Friday. From there, forecasters said, it could curve away from the coast somewhat as it makes it way north, perhaps hitting Massachusetts' Cape Cod and the Maine shoreline on Friday night and Saturday. The storm's winds are expected to weaken only slightly, to 115 mph, by Friday when forecasts call for Earl to be off the Carolina coast. Earl is expected to spend the rest of today and Wednesday traveling east of the Bahamas before curving more to the north and heading on a course parallel to the U.S. coast, passing Jacksonville on Thursday. Forecasters call for Earl to pick up speed after Friday, bend more to the northeast and head for eastern Canada on Saturday. As of late afternoon, Earl was centered about 150 miles east of Grand Turk island — and 1,000 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C. — as it headed northwest at 14 mph. Close on its heels was Tropical Storm Fiona, which was not expected to reach hurricane strength for at least several days. Forecasts keep the core of Earl over open water during its charge up the U.S. coast. However, it wouldn't take much of a change in the storm's expected path to push Earl onshore.