The powerful storm is churning toward the U.S and a hurricane watch has been issued for the coast of Virginia, from its border with the North Carolina to Parramore Island, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said Wednesday.
“A watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within 48 hours,” – said Johanna Wagstaffe, CBC meteorologist.
The hurricane, which has maximum sustained winds of 205 km an hour, was about 280 km north of Grand Turk Island, forecasters said.
“The core of the hurricane will be passing well east and northeast of the Bahamas today and tonight,” forecasters at the hurricane center said early Wednesday.
The storm could approach the North Carolina coast by Friday morning.
The forecasts prompted officials to order tourists off a North Carolina vacation island. Hyde County emergency officials said the evacuation of Ocracoke Island would start at 5 a.m. local time for about 5,000 visitors.
The roughly 800 year-round residents don’t have to heed the order but Emergency Services director Lindsey Mooney said officials hope they will follow tourists on the 2 1/2-hour trip to shore.
More evacuations along the Eastern Seaboard could follow, depending on the path taken by the storm.
Wagstaffe said it is still too early to tell the exact impact Hurricane Earl may have on Atlantic Canada.
“But forecasters are fairly confident that it will still be a hurricane when it reaches Canadian waters for the weekend,” she said.