| 9.6°C Dublin

Hurricane Earl batters America's east coast

The remnants of Hurricane Earl dumped wind-driven rain on the grey-shingled cottages and fishing villages of Massachusetts' Cape Cod today, disrupting holidays on the unofficial final weekend of the short New England summer.

The storm swooped into New England waters as a tropical storm with winds of 70mph after sideswiping North Carolina's Outer Banks, where it caused flooding but no injuries and little damage.


The storm passed wide of New York City, Long Island and the rest of the mid-Atlantic region, but brought swirling rain as it passed just off Cape Cod, Nantucket Island and Martha's Vineyard early today.

Holidaymakers pulled their boats from the water and cancelled Labour Day weekend breaks on Nantucket, the well-to-do resort island and old-time whaling port and shopkeepers boarded up their windows.

Swimmers in New England were warned to stay out of the water -- or off the beach altogether -- because of the danger of getting swept away by high waves.

Airlines cancelled dozens of flights into New England and Amtrak suspended train service between New York and Boston.

No large-scale evacuations were ordered for Cape Cod, where fishermen and other hardy year-round residents have been dealing with gusty nor'easters for generations.

"We kind of roll with the punches out here. It's not a huge deal for us," said Scott Thomas, president of the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre says Earl will probably be a marginal Category 1 hurricane when it reaches the Atlantic coast province of Nova Scotia today.

Hurricanes usually weaken and become tropical storms when they enter Canada's colder waters, but many residents of Halifax, Nova Scotia, stocked up on bottled water and canned goods fearing Earl could be as bad as Hurricane Juan in 2003, which killed eight and caused millions in damages.


Others counted on Earl being downgraded. A biker rally expected to draw thousands in Digby, Nova Scotia, was still on and thousands of motorcycles lined the main street last night.

Biker Bob Martin, of Halifax, said: "We're just going to party and let the storm go by."