High wind gusts are likely to hit Long Island and New York City beginning Wednesday afternoon and blowing stronger after sundown and into the early hours of the following day, a National Weather Service forecaster said.

Residents should take precautions because of the winds' potential effects on "weaker trees and loose things outdoors" that could send limbs and objects flying, and could cause injuries or property damage, David Stark, a meteorologist with the Weather Service's office in Upton, said.

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"We're pretty confident we could see winds up to 40 mph to 45 mph in the metro area and east, especially Long Island," Stark said. In the late afternoon on Wednesday gusts could reach 35 mph, then hitting higher levels at around 7 p.m. and continuing until 2 a.m. to 3 a.m., Stark said.

There's a chance the wind gusts could reach 50 mph if certain circumstances prevail -- if heavy rainfall exerts downward pressure on gusts, adding to their force, Stark said.