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Today emergency planners and hardware stores along North Carolina’s coast planned for Hurricane Earl in hopes that it will deliver no more than a glancing blow as it travels north.

One very likely potential track has the storm moving toward the North Carolina coast before turning to the northeast and moving roughly parallel to the eastern U.S. seaboard.

It’s not expected to reach the coast until Thursday or Friday. Most of the preparations along the Outer Banks are in the preliminary stages. Generators are being tested, gas tanks are being topped off and weather forecasts are being pored over for any indication that Earl will come any closer than several hundred miles off the state’s coast.