This August 30, 2010 NOAA satellite image shows Hurricane Earl, which surged into the Leeward Islands earlier today, after strengthening to a Category Two storm.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Earl "continues to strengthen as it moves across the Northern Leeward Islands." Mike Brennan, a hurricane specialist at the Center, said "it is possible that Earl could become a Category 4 hurricane as we get into the middle to late portions of the week."
The storm "lashed the northeastern Carribbean with heavy rain and strong winds Monday," The Associated Press reports. At 8:00 a.m. ET today, Earl had maximum sustained winds of 110 mph.
UPDATE at 11:15 a.m. ET: Earl is now a major, Category 3 hurricane, the National Hurricane Center reports.
Right now, a hurricane warning is in effect for the U.S. Virgin Islands, Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla, Saint Martin, Saint Barthelemy, St. Maarten, Saba, St. Eustatius, and the British Virgin Islands.
According to the AP, "forecasters say there is a chance the hurricane could brush the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region toward the end of the week, with its closest approach to North Carolina on Friday."