Earl becomes a major hurricane
Hurricane Earl reach Category 3 status with sustained winds of 125 MPH. The virgin Islands are being blasted with Earl's strong winds and heavy rain. Puerto Rico is experienceing heavy flooding from Earl's outer rainbands.
Earl now major hurricane as it hits Caribbean(MSNBC)
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Hurricane Earl grew to a major Category 3 storm on Monday, lashing the northeastern Caribbean with heavy rain and 125 mph winds as it made a course that could threaten the eastern United States later this week.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Earl, which formed on Sunday, was likely to keep growing as it approaches the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Those areas were already seeing sporadic gusts and heavy rain early Monday.
"It is possible that Earl could become a Category 4 hurricane as we get into the middle to late portions of the week," hurricane center specialist Michael Brennan said. Category 4 storms have sustained winds of at least 131 mph.
The storm's forecast track would carry its center north of the Caribbean, then forecasters say it is likely to bend to the north, moving roughly parallel to the U.S. East Coast.
News Video Blogs Earl Now a Category 3 Hurricane, Eastern Puerto Rico in the Storm (AccuWeather)
Conditions across Puerto Rico will only get worse as the eye of Earl is predicted to pass about 60 miles north of the island. Flooding rain and tropical storm-force winds will hit through tonight. North-facing beaches will take a pounding by the heavy surf and storm surge of 2-4 feet.
Highest Wind Reports.
St. Martin - 88 mph
St. Thomas - 58 mph
San Juan - 31 mph
St. Croix - 0.96"
St. Thomas - 1.41"
San Juan - 0.98"