The East Coast is nervously watching Hurricane Earl—now a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 m.p.h.—as it pushes northward, as any shift in its trajectory could threaten millions of people. North Carolina tourists packed up on the gorgeous day that often precedes a hurricane, turtle nests were moved to a safer place, and the USS Cole hurried home to Norfolk, Virginia, a few days early after finishing a mission in Somalia. Governors declared states of emergency in North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland and urged residents to have disaster plans. A mandatory evacuation of North Carolina’s Hatteras Island sent 30,000 people elsewhere. Forecasters are predicting an offshore path for Earl, but a small change could send the storm crashing into North Carolina’s coast and then hitting Long Island, New York and Cape Cod.
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