Earl on a Path to Batter Outer Banks, Cape Cod

August 31, 2010; 3:40 PM ET
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If Earl continues its present course, it will batter the Outer Banks of North Carolina Thursday night and Cape Cod Friday night with strong winds, powerful waves and potential flooding problems.

Hurricane Earl may very well end up being a cape to cape to cape storm wrestling with Cape Hatteras, N.C., Cape Cod, Mass. and Cape Sable, Nova Scotia, along its path.

While Earl's strength continues to fluctuate upon nearing the U.S. coastal waters, AccuWeather.com meteorologists are concerned sustained winds will reach near hurricane force on the Outer Banks.

Much as the Outer Banks will deal with Hurricane Earl Thursday night into early Friday, Cape Cod will be facing the same scenario Friday night into early Saturday.

Waves of up to 20 feet may batter the region, leading to beach erosion and over wash of roads and structures.

How nasty the weather conditions get from coastal North Carolina to southeastern Massachusetts will depend on the exact track and strength of Hurricane Earl.

A path to the east of these areas would be much less severe than a path or landfall to the immediate west.

There is still the potential for a shift in the track, as Earl begins to sense changing steering currents outside of the tropics.

These subtle shifts will play on the forward speed of the hurricane and may also tug the storm's track farther to the west or to the east.

A difference in track of as little as 50 to 75 miles could mean the difference between landfall and lasting destructive eye wall effects versus mere occasional spiral bands with brief episodes of gusty winds and heavy rains.

Not only would conditions be worse over the Outer Banks and Cape Cod, but everywhere in between from the Delmarva Peninsula to New Jersey, Long Island and southern New England.

The time to prepare is now, as Earl's forward speed will increase, regardless of track and intensity.

At any rate, a period of rough seas and gusty winds will tear at beach-front areas spreading northward from North Carolina to Massachusetts during the middle and late parts of the week.

The situation along the East Coast from Florida to Maine and Atlantic Canada warrants that boaters beware and stay close to port while bathers, where allowed, should use caution due to increased, strong rip current danger.

Related to the Story:

Earl's Strength to Fluctuate, Category 5 a Long Shot

Earl to Rattle Atlantic Seaboard

Earl to Threaten Nova Scotia, Newfoundland

How Northeast Should Prepare for Hurricane Earl

Southeast Radar

2010 Hurricane Center

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