Airlines canceled flights, cruise ships diverted and island dwellers took refuge at local shelters in San Juan, Puerto Rico and other islands in preparation for hurricane Earl. Yesterday this now Category 3 hurricane was about 240 miles east of St. Maarten and moving westward. Earl reached hurricane status Sunday morning and had winds gusting up to 85 mph by late afternoon. By early Monday morning, the storm was about 50 miles east-northeast of St. Martin and moving west-northwest at 15 mph.
According to the hurricane center in Miami, wind advisories and storm warnings were put in place on the islands of St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Nevis, Antigua, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands. Many vacation-goers are trying to soak up the last bit of sunshine before Earl forces them to take cover while others are stocking up on food and supplies. Authorities on the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis are encouraging those on the islands to take all necessary precautions to prepare for the storm which could turn into a major force over the coming days.
Earl is expected to strengthen into a major hurricane and move west-northwest before it takes off northward towards the U.S. Eastern seaboard near the end of the week. Fortunately, Earl will stay far away from the already troubled Gulf Coast. Hurricane Danielle, which has been downgraded to Category 1, has been churning the surf along the U.S. East Coast and continues to weaken as it passes over Bermuda.