September 2, 2010
Posted: 01:31 PM ET
By the CNN Wire Staff
Hurricane warnings and watches stretched from North Carolina to Delaware and covered parts of Massachusetts.
President Obama is "closely monitoring" Earl's developments White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday. On Wednesday, Obama signed a disaster declaration for North Carolina authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate relief efforts. The order also makes federal funds available to states. Maryland's governor issued an emergency declaration earlier in the day.
The National Hurricane Center expects the storm, which is larger than California, to pass close to North Carolina's Outer Banks on Thursday night. It is expected to take aim at southeastern New England on Friday night. The storm's track shifted slightly to the west, closer to North Carolina's Cape Hatteras. The hurricane center has posted storm watches and warnings for areas as far north as Maine.
Officials in Dare County, North Carolina, issued mandatory evacuation orders Thursday for visitors to the coastal county, including the Outer Banks. It extended to residents in the town of South Nags Head and Hatteras Island. Dare County schools and courts are closed Thursday and Friday.
"Residents of Dare County have been through this many times," the county's emergency response coordinator, Warren Judge, told CNN's "American Morning." "And they have their own individual practices and procedures to get their homes and businesses secured and prepared for the oncoming storm. What we need to happen now is for the visitors to heed the warning, to evacuate."
At of 8 a.m., Earl's center was about 355 miles (570 kilometers) south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and about 820 miles south-southwest of Nantucket, Massachusetts. It was heading north-northwest at about 18 mph.
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