Growing Hurricane Earl threatens north Caribbean

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – Hurricane Earl is lashing the northeastern Caribbean with heavy rain and strong winds today and forecasts say it has become a major hurricane that could come closest to land off the Carolinas later this week.

On Monday, the storm was causing flooding in low-lying parts of the Leeward Islands and emptying the streets and beaches as people waited out the storm.

Forecasters say there is a chance the hurricane could brush the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region toward the end of the week, with its closest approach to North  Carolina on Friday.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says Earl already has sustained winds of 120 mph and is likely to keep growing. A hurricane center specialist says Earl could become a Category 4 hurricane later in the week.

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