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Levy: No hurricane evacuations planned

A boat is battered by waves in Sopers

A boat is battered by waves in Sopers Hole during the passage of Hurricane Earl near Tortola, British Virgin Islands. (Aug. 30, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

At a 2 p.m. news conference Wednesday on Hurricane Earl preparations, Suffolk Executive Steve Levy said the county does not plan to evacuate residents because it appears unlikely that the storm will hit the Island straight on.

Levy, who was joined by county emergency management officials, also said shelters had been identified, but none were scheduled to be open at this time.

However, federal authorities are expected to close camp sites as the storm nears. The state may follow suit, while New York City is taking a wait and see approach.

Levy urged "rogue surfers" not to chase waves as the storm approaches. Forecasters say Earl is expected to affect New York on Friday.

Levy said spring storms this year were bad for the Island, and now Earl is a "real pile on."

Here's more from our main story:

Hurricane Earl has downshifted to a Category 3 storm, but federal officials said Wednesday morning that the hurricane still threatens parts of the mid-Atlantic coast and could gain or lose intensity in the next 24 to 36 hours.

Heat and humidity Wednesday also prompted an air quality alert for Long Island, with people advised to avoid strenuous activity outside.

Earl is expected to affect New York on Friday as it accelerates to the northeast, with the East End most at risk for a landfall, National Hurricane Center director Bill Read said during an 11:30 a.m. news conference.

Meanwhile, the Town of Hemsptead is urging sea to prepare for anticipated high winds, damaging waves and heavy rains.

Make sure follow Newsday reporter Jennifer Smith's Twitter updates at @smithjenBK. She'll be providing updates as the storm progresses.

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