Earl Skirts Across N.C.'s Outer Banks

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CAPE HATTERAS, North Carolina -- From the strong winds blowing down sand walls, to the barren bridge to North Carolina's Hatteras Island, Hurricane Earl's potential danger to the Outer Banks became clearer after night fall.

"Storms usually weaken as they get up off the coast of North Carolina," said the Weather Channel's Jim Cantore. "So there really hasn't been many that have been as strong as a Cat 4 status."

Cantore kept an eye on Earl from Hatteras Village, where emergency crews forced vacationers to evacuate early Thursday.

"So, in terms of evacuation from this area, you think it was a good idea?" CBN News asked Cantore.

"Absolutely," Cantore answered. "I think that is a no brainer. You can't have thousands of people on the Island and take major hit."

"Right now, the closest thing I could relate it to would be (Hurricane) Ike," said storm chaser Bart Comstock.

Comstock has been chasing severe weather for five years. He drove 23 hours from Arkansas to see what Earl would do to the Tar Heel State's Outer Banks.

"I just have an extreme passion for weather and helping people," Comstock said. "And I try to combine both of my passions together with my photo journalism as well as being able to get out and as a first responder after the storm hits."

A sea of power crews also waited while residents prepared, boarding up homes and businesses. Many shop owners hoped to get back to business as usual once the storm ended.

"We still got about a good three months of hurricane season left to go," Cantore said. "So we are not out of harms way by any stretch of the imagination."

Are you prepared for an emergency? September is National Preparedness Month. Find out what you should do to be prepared.  

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Efrem Graham

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Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio.  He received his master's degree from the Columbia University Journalism School. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.  Follow Efrem on Twitter @EfremGraham and "like" him at Facebook.com/EfremGrahamCBN.