Tropical storm watch issued ahead of Earl

Providence, R.I. – The National Weather Service is warning Rhode Island residents to prepare for winds strong enough to uproot trees, storm surges of up to two feet, high surf and dangerous rip currents when Hurricane Earl sweeps by the coast.

The agency has issued a tropical storm watch for Block Island, Bristol, Eastern Kent, Kent, New London, Newport, Providence, Southeast Providence and Washington.

It says winds of between 39 mph to 73 mph are possible Friday into Saturday morning across the coast, including Block Island.

High surf and dangerous rip currents will arrive today and the conditions will continue Friday as Hurricane Earl makes its closest approach to southern New England.

On Wednesday evening, Earl was a powerful Category 4 hurricane with winds of 135 mph, but is expected to weaken as it moves north.