As a Category 4 hurricane heads for North Carolina and up to New England, federal officials warn residents in these areas to prepare for evacuation
, according to published reports. This could greatly affect truck routes in the area later in the week, as many of the outbound routes will likely be turned into evacuation routes.

According to reports by the Associated Press, Hurricane Earl is expected to hover over the open ocean in the Caribbean before heading north toward the U.S. The Category 4 hurricane has winds of 135 mph.

The hurricane has already hit several small Caribbean islands earlier this week. In the area, cruise ships were diverted, and flights were cancelled, AP reports. No related injuries or deaths have been reported.

"We can't totally rule out a very close approach to either of the Cape Hatteras areas or Cape Cod and southern New England as the storm progresses further," Bill Read, director of the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, told the AP.

"We continue to monitor Hurricane Earl and remain in close contact with state, territorial, and local officials to ensure they have the resources to respond if needed," said Craig Fugate, Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator. "The most important thing for people living in Earl's potential tract to do is to listen to and follow the instructions of their local officials, including evacuation instructions if they are given."

Officials are closely monitoring the areas from the Carolinas to New England, and FEMA is coordinating with the Governors and local officials along the East Coast to aggressively prepare for possible severe weather. Severe weather and flash floods can occur miles inland, and are possible even if a hurricane does not make landfall.