NC Island Evacuated as Earl Blows In
Tourists ordered off Ocracoke
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 1, 2010 3:35 AM CDT
This image provided by NASA shows Hurricane Earl, lower right, at 1:00 a.m. EDT Wednesday Sept. 1, 2010.    (AP Photo/NASA)
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(Newser) – Thousands of tourists have been told to leave North Carolina's Ocracoke Island as Hurricane Earl steams up the coast. The island's 800 residents aren't required to evacuate, but officials say they hope they'll join the exodus from the popular vacation island, the AP reports. More evacuations along the East Coast may follow as the Category 4 storm approaches.

The National Hurricane Center—calling Earl "large and intense"—has issued a hurricane watch for most of the North Carolina coast up to its border with Virginia, CNN reports. The storm is expected to curve away from the coast after hitting North Carolina's Outer Banks before possibly hitting Massachusetts and Maine on Friday. FEMA has deployed response teams from the Carolinas to Maine.