While the Atlantic hurricane season started relatively slowly in June and July, tropical cyclones have recently become more frequent, and now a major hurricane has the potential to impact the East Coast of the United States. As of 5 p.m. last night, Hurricane Earl had become a Category 4 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 135 mph (217 km/h), and was situated just north of the Virgin Islands. Furthermore, global and regional computer models bring the track of the storm close to the Massachusetts coastline on Friday afternoon. If the storm does pass close to our area, high winds and heavy rainfall can be expected for the end of the week. However, it is still too soon to know whether the hurricane will affect our area, since track forecasts for the end of the week could be off by as many as several hundred miles.