msnbc News   |  September 03, 2010

Earl weakens, but still potent

After passing by North Carolina overnight, Earl's powerful gusts and driving rains are being felt in southeastern Virginia and moving up the coast.

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>>> we begin this hour with hurricane earl and the east coast dodging a direct hit . the storm passed by north carolina overnight but it did leave some areas under two feet of water. earl's powerful gusts and driving rains are now being felt in southeastern virginia and moving up the coast. we have complete coverage of hurricane earl . ron mott in north carolina , weather channel 's mike seidel on long island, new york , nbc 's michelle franzen in cape cod , still wounding what is going to happen there. let's begin with nbc meteorologist bill karins come have been worse but still some problems, bill?

>> yeah, tell you, we had a category 4 at this time yesterday and very fearful what was going to happen in the carolinas and eventually up in cape cod . the storm weakened a little bit more than expected yesterday afternoon and evening that set the stage for the damage that miner in the eastern carolinas much the storm is continuing to pass to the north-northeast, wait for the new advisory from the hurricane center , later than kip cal with it. 11:00 advisory, usually a couple minutes early. actually, we just heard just came in, now down to a category 1 intensity. the weakening trend has continued with this storm . that shouldn't be a big surprise. we haven't seen wind gusts on the coast of virginia beach , the areas of maryland had i higher than even small tropical storms at this point. as far as the storms itself, see if they adjust the watches and warnings, i assume the hurricane warnings will be dropped very shortly if not already for the outer banks . cape scold a question mark , in the end, a category one storm , change that icon to a 1 from a 26789 the waves still huge. 21-foot waves off virginia beach , 12-foot waves off of new jersey, now 11-foot waves approaching mike seidel up there in montauk. the bigger waves still being produced by the storm , that will be the legacy of this system. let's track the wind field, or the ran edge is the tropical storm -force winds, out there about 4 p.m . this afternoon, just clipping eastern long island. then the path of the storm , looks like now just tropical storm -force winds for eastern portions of the cape. again, we do not expect a lot of devastation from this storm f you havant evacuated, you probably don't need to at this point. here is the new forecast path just out from the hurricane center . it does not include cape cod now in the actual cone. just nantucket in that cone, feeling more and more confident we will not get a direct landfall out of cape cod , probably just tropical storm -force winds on nan tucket and cape cod . new update, category 1 remain a 1 into nova scotia up there into the bay of fundy. as far as we are going, it does not look like we will see more significant damage. maybe minor power outages. when it was a big huge storm , the waves that is the show on today.

>> some beaches closed, folks not allowed out there because of the rip current . the other question is travelers on the east coast in terms of the acre the roads it is busy.

>> i have to say more than anything, earl is an inconvenience for a lot of people trying to get to their destinations. they had to wait until tonight or to.

>> thank you, bill.

>>> hurricane earl is threatening to bring its wind gusts as high as 50 miles per hour to new york 's long island coast.

>>> it is cutting our vacation a little bit short but we are okay with that and better to be safe. we are happy. whaufrnlts heard a little bit of an inconvenience for a different idea how they would spend labeled. go to the weather channel 's mike side until montauk, new york . how are things looking now?

>> not a whole a lot of change, chris a couple of rain bands come through, bill mentioned a category 1 hurricane and dropped the winds from 105 down to 85. we are seeing a nice decrease of the wind, a weakening of the storm and that is good news for the cape. as bill mentioned, cone missed nantucket out here, eight to ten-foot waves , dealing with this all morning, high tide midafternoon eastern time . again, the beach will be under water. they will lap at this dune, protect the buildings, buildings in good shape may get a gust to 50 miles an hour. we will see. needless to say, any kind of wind damage it will be very, very minimal, considering it was sporadic and minimal on the cape, the outer banks , i should say with wind gust up to 82 mile an hour. the worst to have comes in late this afternoon through late this evening. it all moves out of here now, hurricane northeast 21 miles per hour, forward speed will increase, chris , by tomorrow morning , the sun will be back out and life will be good for the weekend, anywhere along the east coast , even cape cod . no problems for the weekend except there may be some issues trying to fly in and out of boston and some of the new york city airports today. really it hasn't rained hard yet at the new york city airports. become to you.

>> mike, thanks so much. saying earl passed before daybreak, north carolina banks it did leave power outages and flooded roads behind 36785,000 residents and visitors were asked to evacuate the outer banks . a state of emergency has been declared in dare county , all the schools and government office there is are closed. the highway into hatteras island was inaccessible this morning but governor beverly perdue says it really could have been worse.

>> there is flooding and overwash so -- along the outer banks . we expected that. ocracoke and parts of hatteras have still no electricity. the roads are flooded there. a good northeaster would have done the same thing.

>> nbc 's ron mott live from kill devil hills . people breathing a sigh of relief this morning?

>> certainly are this morning, chris . good morning. i'm barely hearing you over the sounds of the ocean and this wind that's still whipping up here on the outer banks . we think we have got another hour or so of this kind of inclement weather and slowly but surely some time in the afternoon, expect to see some sunrise, about 95 degrees. so, a lot of folks were expecting to wake to a lot more damage than they were seeing outside their homes and businesses today, the greatest news possible flirting with a category 3 /4 storm as we were yesterday. earl downgraded quickly as it crossed our area and out into the atlantic, now headed up to the mid-atlantic states, delaware, maryland, up to the cape area. what we have expected here we got in terms of storm surge but did not do a lot of damage because the storm was running parallel to the coast, most of the waves running parallel with it we did get some splashciness here, chris but not the damage we expected. we had had moderate power outages, as you mentioned, somewhere in the 4 to 500 range. thinking we were going to get thousands upon 10,000 power outages. that is good news as well. no significant injuries to report. no fatalities. as you mentioned, highway 12 there toward cape hatteras gets flooded. sand overtops that road. that certainly happens here. north carolina dot was out early this morning beginning to process of clearing that road out so people can start getting to and from cape hatteras . we will send it back up to you.

>> a long weekend ahead they can enjoy. thank you, ron .

>>> heading north now to massachusetts where president obama has declared a state of emergency disaster for the entire state. no mandatory evacuations are in place there but masses governor is urging people in low-like areas prone to flooding to keep an eye on the forecast. we did tell you though that this has been downgraded to a category 1 storm . nbc 's michelle franzen joins us now live from chatham, massachusetts. what is the scene like there?

>> certainly, the preparation the last two days, preparing for the worst what could have been a direct hit , shaping up to be a direct hit from hurricane earl here on cape cod that is not shaping up to be the case at this hour. however, still a significant storm , as bill just mentioned a got category 1 significant winds and nantucketed expected to still take the brunt of hurricane earl . right now though, very calm, in the bay, a protected area of chatham here. there are still some people out on the beach here, taking stock of this calm weather before the storm rolls n we have had had a shower just a short time ago of the outer bands of this storm but certainly a lot of people were preparing, boarding up their houses, moving boats to safer areas and also just stocking up.

>> just got some water and mostly dry goods just in case refridge rater is down.

>>> it is chaos, utter, utter kay, i don't we were just in there standing in line for literally 20 minutes . people were just crazy, fighting and arguing in line.

>> again, should be a significant storm in terms of rain, in terms of wind. the problem here out on the cape and the islands could be power outages. also in advance of this storm , they have moved utility vehicles into place, chris , so they can get to work on any power outages that take place when the storm hits.

>> good news, supposed to move by quickly. michelle, thanks for