As Hurricane Earl rumbled toward the East Coast Thursday with 145 m.p.h. winds, forecasters issued a tropical storm warning for the coast of Long Island, a hurricane watch for areas of Massachusetts, and mandatory evacuation orders across areas of North Carolina. The Category 4 storm is expected to hit North Carolina late Thursday. The people of Dare County, the town of Nags Head, Morehead City, Hatteras Island, and Ocracoke Island have been ordered to evacuate, according to authorities. President Obama has declared a state of emergency in North Carolina, and the North Carolina National Guard has deployed 80 troops to help. Forecasters have also issued hurricane watches and warnings for most of North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and part of Massachusetts, warning residents that hurricane and/or tropical storm conditions may materialize in 36 to 48 hours. “There is still concern that this track, the core of the storm, could shift a little farther to the west and have a very significant impact on the immediate coastline,” said National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen. “Our present track keeps it offshore, but you never know.” No storm has threatened as much of the East Coast since Hurricane Bob in 1991.
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