The last ferries pulled away from North Carolina's vulnerable barrier islands Thursday as Hurricane Earl spun closer with winds near 125 mph, putting the East Coast all the way to Canada on alert for what could be a blustery next several days.
A hurricane warning was issued for the tip of Massachusetts, including Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. New hurricane and tropical storm warnings and watches were issued for parts of Canada, adding to those already in effect from North Carolina to near the Canadian border.
With winds expected to whip up in North Carolina's Outer Banks by Thursday evening, Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate said residents and tourists could no longer afford to wait on the next forecast to see how close the eye of the storm might get.
Earl weakened slightly as it moved toward the coast about 245 miles south of Cape Hatteras on Thursday, but it was still a dangerous Category 3 storm.