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  • 03Sep

    Hurricane Earl May Ruin Labor Day Weekend Plans

    From npr

    Hurricane Earl’s center passed east of Cape Hatteras on North Carolina’s coast early Friday, pounding the Outer Banks with high waves, rain and wind gusts of more than 70 miles per hour.

    The storm had weakened to a Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph as it neared the coast. It is expected to lose more strength as it tracks northeast toward New England, but the National Hurricane Center warns that Earl will still be a powerful hurricane when it reaches the area off Cape Cod late Friday.

    A tropical storm warning was issued early Friday for the coast of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in Canada.

    Meteorologists say Earl, which had drifted further east than anticipated, may bring a storm surge of 2 to 4 feet as it passes northward. There were reports from Hatteras Island of ocean waves washing over roads, and thousands of homes were without electricity in Dare County.

    Residents and officials of North Carolina’s barrier islands were waiting for daybreak to see how much damage the storm’s winds and waves had left behind. But National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Collins said Earl had produced little storm surge and only minor flooding in some coastal counties.

    Earl weakened all day Thursday, winding down from a Category 4 storm with winds of 140 mph to a Category 2 storm. But it still packed enough of a punch to send rain sideways and shake signs in Buxton, the southeasternmost tip of the Outer Banks.

    In Nags Heads, with the eye the closest it was expected to get to the North Carolina coast, the rain lashed against window panes and the wind kicked up. At about 2 a.m., the tops of small trees were bending in the howling gusts and beach grass was whipping back and forth on dunes leading to the ocean. A couple hundred power outages were reported.

    While more than 30,000 residents and visitors were ordered to leave the Outer Banks, more hardy residents gassed up their generators and hunkered at home behind their boarded-up windows, even though officials warned them that it could be three days before they could expect any help.

    “It’s kind of nerve-racking, but I’ve been through this before,” said 65-year-old Herma De Gier, who has lived in the village of Avon since 1984. De Gier said she will ride out the storm at a neighbor’s house but wants to be close enough to her own property so she can quickly deal with any damage.

    The eye of the hurricane was expected to get only about 100 miles east of the Outer Banks, not any closer, said Collins.

    During its march up the Atlantic, it could snarl travelers’ Labor Day weekend plans with several flights already canceled. Forecasters said that 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 Friday, staying away from New Jersey and the other mid-Atlantic states, but also passing very close to Long Island, Cape Cod and Nantucket, which could get gusts up to 100 mph.

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