Earl could force U.S. evacuations

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 1, 2010

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A powerful Hurricane Earl threatened to sideswipe much of the East Coast just ahead of Labor Day, worrying countless vacationers who planned to spend the traditional last week of summer at the beach.

The Federal Emerg-ency Management Agency warned people along the Eastern Seaboard to prepare for possible evacuations and islanders in the Turks and Caicos hunkered down in their homes Tuesday as the Category 4 hurricane steamed across the Caribbean with winds of 135 mph.

North Carolina officials late Tuesday announced the first evacuation would be Ocracoke Island beginning at 5 a.m. Wednesday. Tourists would be ordered to leave the barrier island accessible only by ferries, but those who live there year-round have the option to stay.