Steven, Earl is headed right towards you.

Tourists have largely evacuated vulnerable islands off of North Carolina as powerful hurricane Earl makes its way towards the coast.

The Category 4 system is currently about 660 kilometres south of Cape Hatteras, N.C., packing maximum sustained winds of 230 km/h.

North Carolina and Virginia have both declared a state of emergency in advance of the hurricane.

And on Thursday a tropical storm warning was issued for the coast of Long Island, N.Y. and a hurricane watch was issued for parts of Massachusetts. A hurricane warning was already in place for the North Carolina coast.

Earl's path shifts towards New Brunswick

For the first time since Monday, a significant shift was seen Thursday morning in projections for Earl's path into Canada.

As of 5 a.m. the U.S. National Hurricane Center revised its forecast, with models showing it would likely make landfall at Grand Manan Island, N.B., near the border with Maine.

North Carolina was in the midst of evacuations Thursday morning as people fled the fragile barrier islands in Carteret County.

Earl is expected to touch down on the U.S. mainland around midnight Thursday near Cape Hatteras. It is expected to bring wind gusts of up to 160 km/h along with several feet of storm surge