Earl weakens to Category 3 hurricane - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Earl weakens to Category 3 hurricane

Hurricane Earl Hurricane Earl
Tropical Depression 9 (Source: National Weather Service) Tropical Depression 9 (Source: National Weather Service)
Tropical Storm Fiona (Source: National Weather Service) Tropical Storm Fiona (Source: National Weather Service)

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Earl weakened to a Category 3 hurricane early Wednesday with winds near 125 mph. Tropical Depression 9 is forming in Eastern Atlantic.

It is likely that this major hurricane will remain east of the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry, passing about 320 miles to the east at about noon Thursday, according to the WTOC SkyTrak Weather Team. Tropical Depression 9 is moving west at 15 mph and has maximum winds of 35 mph. Tropical Storm Fiona's maximum sustained winds are 60 mph and it's moving northwest at 17 mph.

The Chatham County Emergency Management Agency continues to monitor Earl, Fiona and Tropical Depression 9. The agency remains in OPCON 4, which is an advanced stage of readiness when a storm is approximately 120 hours away from Chatham County.

South Carolina Emergency Management Division is also monitoring Earl and the developing storm systems in the Atlantic.

A rip current risk remains in effect from 8 a.m. Wednesday morning through this evening, according to the National Weather Service.

A high surf advisory remains in effect from 12 a.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday. A high surf advisory means that high surf will affect beaches in the advisory area that can produce dangerous rip currents and beach erosion.

The high surf advisory has been issued to these Georgia counties: Bryan, Chatham, Liberty, Glynn and McIntosh. It also has been issued to these two South Carolina Counties: Jasper and Beaufort.

There is a high risk of rip currents for the beaches of south coastal South Carolina and north coastal Georgia.

Submit your high surf and wave photos to pics@wtoc.com.

Copyright 2010 WTOC. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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