Hurricane Earl Hits Category 4

Path could brush East Coast later this week
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 30, 2010 4:22 PM CDT
Hurricane Earl Hits Category 4
Luis Colon uses an umbrella to shield himself from rain and wind caused by the approaching Hurricane Earl in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Monday Aug. 30, 2010.   (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

Hurricane Earl battered tiny islands across the northeastern Caribbean with heavy rain and roof-ripping winds today, rapidly intensifying into a major Category 4 storm on a path projected to menace the United States. Already dangerous with sustained winds of 135mph, Earl is expected to gain strength before potentially brushing the East Coast this week and bringing deadly rip currents. The National Hurricane Center warned coastal residents from North Carolina to Maine to watch the storm closely.

"Any small shift in the track could dramatically alter whether it makes landfall or whether it remains over the open ocean," said a meteorologist at the center. "I can't urge enough to just stay tuned." In the Caribbean, Earl caused flooding in low-lying areas and damaged homes on islands including Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, and St. Maarten. Cruise ships were diverted and flights canceled across the region. Tropical Storm Fiona is right behind Earl, east of the Leeward Islands. (More Hurricane Earl stories.)

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