A weakened Hurricane Earl delivered only a glancing blow to North Carolina's Outer Banks early Friday on its way up the East Coast, flooding roads on the narrow vacation islands and knocking out power but staying farther offshore than feared. There were no immediate reports of any injuries.
But the storm remained very much a threat as it swirled up the Eastern Seaboard toward Cape Cod. President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency for Massachusetts to make it easier for the government to provide disaster relief.
Earl sideswiped North Carolina before daybreak, a less menacing storm than it was just a day earlier. Its winds had dropped to 105 mph from 145 mph. And at its closest approach, its center passed about 85 miles east of Cape Hatteras - up to 50 miles farther out than forecasters feared.
Hurricane-force winds, which start at 74 mph, apparently did not reach the Outer Banks, the National Hurricane Center's chief forecaster James Franklin said.
"We still think it will be a hurricane when it passes by Cape Cod," Franklin said.