Earl: Wednesday evening update

Earl is a massive, frightening-looking and powerful storm that has transformed North Carolina into an anxiety capital.

A hurricane watch is up for coastal Delaware, and tropical-storm warnings are posted from Virginia Beach all the way to Sandy Hook.

But the computer guidance continues to argue against catastrophe. The extent of the warnings and watches probably has more do with the geographic extent of Earl, which is unusually large for a hurricane.

Tropical-storm winds radiate 180 miles to the northwest of the storm's center. The storm center is expected to pass within 170 miles of the New Jersey coast, which would brush the Shore with tropical-storm force winds and rain.

Earl is a more-imminent and bigger deal along the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where evacuation orders were issued for Hatteras and Ocracoke islands.

The computer models continue to insist that Earl will bear to the right after passing Hatteras. It would then take a track off the coast toward the domain of the lobsters. Chances are it won't make landfall at all.

Of course, it's still hundreds of miles away, and the track is subject to change without notice. It already has left an impressive legacy, causing as much as $150 million worth of damage in the Caribbean, according to AIR Worldwide, the insurance-consulting service, and a buoy measured a 49-foot wave.

All that said, it appears that Earl will be out of here by day's end Friday, and it should be a magnificent weekend at the Shore.