WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Barack Obama says an emergency exists in North Carolina and has ordered federal agencies to help state and local officials with handling any problems caused by Hurricane Earl.

The president’s action Wednesday authorizes the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate all disaster relief efforts.

Specifically, FEMA can mobilize equipment and other resources.
Forecasters say Hurricane Earl’s winds gusted to about 140 mph as it steamed toward the Eastern Seaboard.

Communities all along the East Coast are keeping a close eye on the storm and several states have already declared emergencies.

The National Hurricane Center says maximum sustained winds late Wednesday were about 140 mph (220 kph), making it a Category 4 hurricane.

The strongest hurricane forecasters give is a Category 5 with winds 155 mph (249 kph) and higher.


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