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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Hurricane Earl, now a powerful Category 4 storm, barreled toward the U.S. coast early Tuesday after battering tiny islands across the northeastern Caribbean with heavy rain and winds that damaged homes and toppled power lines.
Earl is forecast to potentially brush the U.S. East Coast late Thursday, before curving back out to sea, potentially swiping New England or far-eastern Canada. The U.S. National Hurricane Center warned coastal residents from North Carolina to Maine to watch the storm closely.
"Any small shift in the track could dramatically alter whether it makes landfall or whether it remains over the open ocean," said Wallace Hogsett, a meteorologist at the center. "I can't urge enough to just stay tuned."
Federal officials say evacuations may be required in the U.S. if Hurricane Earl tracks too close to the East Coast.
Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate said Tuesday that people along the eastern seaboard should be prepared in case evacuations are necessary later this week.
Officials will be closely monitoring the movement of the Category 4 storm to determine which parts of the coast will face the greatest impact. It's too early to tell right now what those might be.
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