There's a big storm predicted for Thursday night. Hurricane Earl is coming our way and is expected to bring strong winds with gusts as high as 60 mph to parts of Long Island.  This morning, forecasters were saying there's a chance it will be a Category 3 when it gets here (click here for the latest forecasts). So there are three things you need to do.

One: Stay home, if you can. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and local governments are advising residents to keep a week's worth of water and supplies for your family by the front door in case you need to make a run for it. It make sense to err on the side of caution.

Two: Go out now, before those winds kick up, and inspect your trees. If you see any broken or weak branches, remove them so they don't come flying at your house later. They have the potential to cause major damage and injury. Ditto for branches that seem to threaten power lines.

Be especially diligent about inspecting trees that might have been weakened or partially uprooted by the storm that ravaged parts of the Island back in June. Tonight's conditions might be the straw that breaks that camel's back and send branches or entire trees hurtling toward your home or your neighbors' home or your car.

Three: As long as human beings roam the Earth, there will always be someone somewhere trying to profit from someone else's misfortune. In this case, don't be surprised if a stranger toting a chain saw shows up at your door after the storm offering to "fix" your trees by removing broken branches, etc. Only hire qualified and licensed tree experts or arborists to work on your property. And don't get any ideas about climbing a tree to do the job yourself. It's not worth it.

Be safe, everyone. 

VIDEOS: Watch Earl swirl up the East Coast

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