The Latest on Hurricane Earl
Earl Weakens, Pounds North Carolina Islands, Heads for Massachusetts
Hurricane Earl battered North Carolina's coast with rain, winds and waves Friday and swirled up the U.S. eastern seaboard toward New England and Canada as a weakened but still dangerous storm.
The impact of the Category 2 storm appeared to be less than originally expected as Earl churned north parallel to the U.S. Atlantic coast hours after it was downgraded from a Category 4 hurricane.
Surging waves pounded North Carolina's Outer Banks low-lying barrier islands, the most exposed areas to Earl.
Local emergency officials said no casualties or major structural damage had been reported so far. At least one coastal road was cut by waves washing over it.
"Certainly conditions are not as severe as they could have been,'' said Sandy Sanderson, the director of emergency services in Dare County.
At 5 a.m. EDT , Earl was packing top sustained winds of 105 miles per hour and its center was passing east of the Outer Banks islands that jut into the Atlantic, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
Earl's core was located about 85 miles east of Cape Hatteras, and about 465 miles south southwest of Nantucket, Massachusetts.
A gradual weakening was forecast during the next 24 to 36 hours but Earl was expected to remain a large hurricane as it turned toward the northeast and headed for southeastern New England, which it would approach on Friday night.
Offshore buoys at varying distances off the Outer Banks recorded waves as high as 26 feet and even 35 feet .
U.S. EAST COAST ON ALERT
As oil refineries, drilling platforms and nuclear power plants along the Atlantic coast monitored Earl's path, EnCana Corp. said it suspended drilling and pulled personnel from a Nova Scotia rig in Canada.