As Earl closes in on North Carolina sometime tonight (Thursday) the Maryland Chesapeake Tidal Basin will get the first impact as it moves up the east coast. So far the President has issued an emergency declaration and the Governor has issued an emergency declaration for our area. The National Weather Service has issued a coastal flood warning for the area.
Just before nightfall the sky filled with the advancing clouds of Earl, still a couple of hundred miles away. It is a foreboding sky but we should be just beyond the real danger area. Here at the Potomac basin the tides should be effected when the hurricane winds pass offshore later tonight.
Any flooding should hit by morning and the rains should be less severe than normal hurricanes on the east coast because the hurricane keeps speeding up. It was moving at a speed of 18 miles an hour earlier today and by morning is expected to accelerate to 35 miles per hour, much faster than storms already bigger than the entire state of Florida.
The pictures show the likely path, speed, and shape from various radar and satellite imaging. Just above you can see the two storms following Earl that will be the next threat. Note the comparison below between the satellite image of Katrina and Earl.