A tropical storm warning is in effect for Bermuda, meaning winds in that area are expected to reach up to 73 mph (118 kph), according to the National Hurricane Center
. The region was under a hurricane watch that was lifted Thursday, yet forecasters are expecting winds to pick up on Friday, the hurricane center said.
And despite the storm being hundreds of miles offshore from the US, dangerous surf conditions and rip currents “are expected along the East Coast through the weekend,” the National Weather Service
Hurricanes have the potential to impact the East Coast “even when they remain far enough away that you don’t even notice they exist,” the weather service warned.
“Hurricane Earl is just such a hurricane. The greatest coastal impacts will be in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast into this weekend,” the weather service said.
Notably, those types of hurricanes can produce strong swells that release dangerous rip currents
to local beaches and shore areas.
Forecasters in Wilmington, North Carolina, also warned that powerful swells from the hurricane could impact the area through at least Sunday and could lead to “rough surf and minor coastal flooding.”
Earl was moving north-northeast at about 15 mph late Thursday, and rain across Bermuda is expected to fall between 1 and 3 inches (25 to 75 mm) through Friday. The storm has already whipped up sustained winds close to 90 mph with even higher gusts, the National Hurricane Center said.
“Re-strengthening is still possible, and Earl could become a major hurricane by tomorrow (Friday),” the hurricane center warned.
A major hurricane is defined as a storm that is Category 3 or higher, meaning it would bring winds moving at least 111 mph and may potentially cause significant loss of life and damage, according to
the weather service. Category 3 storms can pack winds up to 129 mph. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale
measures the strength of hurricanes in five categories based on their sustained winds speeds.
CNN’s Holly Yan, Christina Maxouris and Mike Saenz contributed to this report.