"MASONBORO ISLAND, N.C. Hurricane Earl edged toward the Atlantic coastline Thursday as tourists and residents fled the Outer Banks of North Carolina in the wake of forecasts that the storm might lash the state by the end of the day.
"Two families from Newport, Va., stood on the deck of their cottage on Avon Beach on the Outer Banks of North Carolina as Hurricane Earl headed for the East Coast.
"On Masonboro, an undeveloped barrier island near Wilmington reachable only by boat, a small armada bobbed on the protected mainland side Wednesday as a steady parade of short boards and zinc-coated faces streamed over the dunes to the surf. There, the still far-off storm created a bonanza of waves.
The National Hurricane Center said late Wednesday the storm was picking up strength, with winds of about 140 m.p.h. It placed most of the North Carolina coast under a hurricane warning meaning that hurricane conditions were expected at least somewhere in that stretch."