The accompanying image, courtesy of NOAA, shows Earl as a Category 3 storm barreling along the outer fringes of the Caribbean.
The storm is packing 125-mph winds and the National Hurricane Center in Miami expects some strengthening as Earl churns to the northwest in a line toward North Carolina. The storm is expected to bend more toward the north near North Carolina and skirt virtually the entire East Coast, remaining at hurricane strength into the weekend.
It has already disrupted cruise-ship schedules and delivered torrential rain in parts of the Caribbean. Hopefully it won't score a direct hit on North Carolina.
At 1 p.m. (EDT) Monday, a Hurricane Watch was in effect for Puerto Rico and a Tropical Storm Watch was in effect for Turks and Caicos Islands.
-- Pete Thomas