Washington, Sep 1 (DPA): US officials Tuesday warned residents across much of the US East Coast to prepare for strong surf and potential evacuations ahead of Hurricane Earl, which has already left a trail of damage across the north-eastern Caribbean.
The category four storm with winds of 215 km per hour was continuing to dump rain on Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands as well as the Bahamas and the Turk and Caicos islands, the US National Hurricane Centre said.
Earl was expected to move into the Atlantic and move up the US coast with heavy waves reaching North Carolina as early as late Wednesday before the storm passes near the state's coast Thursday. The storm is then forecast to pass the northern US coast Friday and remain a hurricane through the weekend as it heads toward Canada.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it was prepared to send teams to assist local officials from every state from North Carolina to Maine, and residents in coastal areas should be prepared to evacuate if local officials deem it necessary.
No landfall is anticipated, but Earl will pass close enough to shore to cause storm surges in coastal areas that could necessitate local evacuations, hurricane centre director Bill Read told reporters.
Power outages and slight damage were reported on several Caribbean islands including Antigua and St Maarten after Earl passed through the area. Aviation and ship traffic were affected in the region. In Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, many residents were without power.
The storm was forecast to move north-west at 22 km per hour.