The category four storm is on course to lash the coast of North Carolina late Thursday, before shifting to the north. Hurricane and tropical storm warnings and watches are in effect along the Mid-Atlantic coast and as far north as Massachusetts.SHOOT: Looks like the next 24-48 hours are going to be a bruising time for the East Coast. And two more named storms have formed behind Earl.
Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami are warning of heavy rains and damaging winds from the storm, which now has sustained winds of 230 kilometers per hour.
Forecasters say a dangerous storm surge could raise water levels along the coast as much as 1.5 meters.
The governors of North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland have declared states of emergency.
President Barack Obama has also declared a state of emergency in North Carolina, allowing the federal government to coordinate disaster relief efforts there.
Earl has already skirted parts of the eastern Caribbean, flooding parts of Antigua and ripping out trees and blowing down power lines on St. Martin. Officials in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico say they are working to restore electricity to more than 200,000 people who were affected by the storm.
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