Weakened Hurricane Earl Lashes North Carolina Coast
BUTTON, N.C. — Rain squalls and gusting winds from Hurricane Earl pounded the North Carolina Outer Banks early Friday, but forecasters said the weakened storm produced less of a surge than earlier predicted.
National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Collins said early Friday that Earl had produced little storm surge and only minor flooding in some coastal counties. Predictions of storm surges between 2 and 4 feet might be generous, he said.
However, the center of the hurricane was still moving closer to the coast for the first and perhaps most destructive stop on the storm's projected journey up the Eastern Seaboard.
Waves of up to 18 feet were predicted to smash into the North Carolina coast, leading to beach erosion and roadway overwash on the Outer Banks.
Forecasters reported winds on the barrier islands were gusting to around 40 mph.
The end of an already dilapidated wooden pier in Frisco, one of the villages on Hatteras Island, collapsed after being battered by high surf Thursday, the Charlotte Observer newspaper reported. The pier had been closed to the public because of past storm damage.
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