Hurricane Earl is a Category Two storm with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph as of early Monday morning. Earl will intensify over the next day into a major hurricane of at least Category Three strength, potentially as strong as a Cat 4.
The track of Earl appears to be very close to the Outer Banks and Virginia's coast on Thursday and Friday. The center of Earl may pass within 180 miles of Virginia Beach, and only 100 miles of Hatteras in the Outer Banks.
Even if our region receives only a glancing blow of the system, there should be rough surf and rip tides Wednesday through Friday along the Eastern Shore, Virginia Beach and Sandbridge, and all along the Outer Banks. If you have beach plans later this week anywhere in this region, be aware of this threat when swimming in the ocean! I also encourage you to stay tuned this week for the latest on the track of Earl, as any shift to the west would mean more significant impacts along the coast. Right now, tropical storm force winds extend out from the center of the storm 175 miles, which could be felt at the beach later Thursday and early Friday. What could turn the system away from us Friday? An approaching cold front from the west. However, if this front slows or weakens, that keeps the door open for Earl to track farther west, closer to North Carolina and Virginia as a major hurricane.