U.S. warns East Coast to brace for impact of Hurricane Earl

RALEIGH, N.C. — Federal officials say evacuations may be required in the U.S. if Hurricane Earl tracks too close to the East Coast.

Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate said Tuesday that people along the eastern seaboard should be prepared in case evacuations are necessary later this week.

Officials will be closely monitoring the movement of the Category 4 storm to determine which parts of the coast will face the greatest impact. It's too early to tell right now what those might be.

By late morning, Earl was a little more than 1,000 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras.

The crucial issue is whether it makes a predicted turn north later Tuesday. Even a relatively small difference in the storm’s track could be the deciding factor in whether state officials issue evacuation orders for populated areas along the coast.

Earl is forecast to potentially brush North Carolina late Thursday before running parallel to land up the East Coast on Friday and Saturday.

FEMA already has teams deployed in the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and North Carolina. It has advance teams prepared to work with other states up the coast.

FEMA advance teams are being readied to move into states that could be affected. As of Tuesday morning, the only one that had been deployed so far on the East Coast was in Raleigh.

Even if, as predicted, Earl doesn’t come ashore that it would generate big waves and dangerous rip currents along the North Carolina coast, they said.

Storm surge, rather than winds, would likely be the most dangerous effect of the storm, they said.

The National Park Service issued an evacuation order Tuesday morning for Cape Lookout National Seashore.

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