Throughout the day Wednesday, watches and warnings spread up the East Coast ahead of the path of Hurricane Earl.
Hurricane Earl “continues relentlessly toward the northwest,” according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. The agency issued an alert at 2 p.m. Wednesday, stating that Earl “poses a threat to the Mid-Atlantic Coast.”
Despite the fact Earl had “weakened” to a Category 3 storm, it strengthen back to a Category 4 by late afternoon Wednesday, as predicted by NOAA’s alert.
The agency is warning that Hurricane is a large storm with hurricane force winds occurring up to 90 miles from the storm’s center and tropical storm force winds occurring up to 200 miles from the storm’s center.
Tropical storm force winds – which are 39 mph to 73 mph winds – are expected to reach the North Carolina coast by Thursday afternoon, with hurricane force winds hitting by Thursday evening. A Category 4 hurricane can have winds up to 155 mph.
The National Weather Service issued hurricane warnings – an announcement that hurricane conditions are expected – for Bogue Inlet, NC, northeastward to the North Carolina-Virginia border.
Hurricane watches – an announcement that hurricane conditions are possible – were in effect north of the North Carolina-Virginia border to Cape Henlopen, DE.
New Jersey and the other New England states were cautioned by the National Weather Service to “monitor the progress of Earl.”
North Carolina and Virginia are taking action in the event Earl does make landfall on the East Coast.
Gov. Bev Perdue has suspended the hours of service regulation in North Carolina to ensure that trucks are able to transport essentials and restore utilities disrupted by Hurricane Earl.
The order allows an exemption from 49 CFR Part 395 to permit “the uninterrupted supply of electricity, fuel oil, diesel oil, gasoline, kerosene, propane, liquid petroleum gas, food, water, and medical supplies to residential and commercial establishments is essential during the storm and after the storm and any interruption in the delivery of those commodities threatens the public welfare.”
Anticipating Earl’s arrival on Thursday, evacuation orders were in place on Wednesday for the Ocracoke and Hatteras Islands of North Carolina, sending residents and tourists scrambling inland. Click here for the statewide evacuation plan.
Governor Bob McDonnell today declared a state of emergency in Virginia, a step authorizing state agencies to take precautionary action to prepare for any potential impacts in eastern Virginia from Hurricane Earl.
Virginians, especially those in Hampton Roads or traveling to the coast, should pay close attention to local weather forecasts, the governor urged in a statement. A slight westward movement in the track of the storm will increase the risk of dangerous weather in eastern Virginia.
For evacuation routes in Virginia, click here. Be sure to enter the online guide and scroll over the lower tiles to the evacuation portions of the plan. There are statewide and a Hampton Roads specific plans.
Delaware, while on the tail end of the hurricane watch, has officials merely keeping a close eye on the situation and cautioning residents and travelers to be prepared with emergency kits and evacuation routes planned.
Truckers are in unique situations when traveling in and out of hurricane warning and watch zones. You’re not on your “home turf,” and who wants to ride a hurricane out in a truck?
Your best plan of action is to stay informed on the progress of storms such as Earl. You can also stay in close contact with shippers and receivers in hurricane watch and warning areas to determine whether or not travel is possible or advisable.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regional offices can also provide you information on HOS waivers and other regulatory concerns that may crop up.
For Hurricane Earl, truckers would likely communication with the Eastern or Southern Service Centers of FMCSA.
- Eastern Service Center
CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NJ, NH, NY, PA, Puerto Rico, RI, VA, VT, WV
- Southern Service Center
AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, NM, OK, SC, TN, TX