COPY-Hurricane Earl strengthens, barrels towards Eastern Seaboard - - Jackson, MS

COPY-Hurricane Earl strengthens, barrels towards Eastern Seaboard

BUXTON, N.C. (AP) - Many along North Carolina's Outer Banks are heading for the mainland to get out of the way of Hurricane Earl.

But some resolute residents are staying behind to face the most powerful storm to threaten the coast in years.

Hurricane Earl continued to barrel toward the Eastern Seaboard on Thursday.

Forecasters are trying to pinpoint exactly how close the strongest winds and heaviest surge would get to North Carolina's fragile chain of barrier islands.

They also are trying to figure out if the storm would stay off the Northeast coast or bring hurricane-force winds to Long Island, the Boston metropolitan area and Cape Cod.

Tourists for the most part left the islands, but locals familiar with hurricanes say they are prepared to spend days stranded from the mainland.

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