Forecasters say Hurricane Earl will likely brush the North Carolina coast.
Coastal residents from North Carolina to Maine are keeping a wary eye on Hurricane Earl.
The storm has strengthened into a powerful Category Four Hurricane with a projected path that could bring it dangerously close to the East Coast.
"It's going to have significant impacts even if it doesn't make landfall," says The Weather Channel's Dr. Rick Knabb. "It's probably going to go over the coast of the U.S. or just off shore either way, it's going to be felt."
Forecasters say any variation in the storm's track could dramatically affect whether Earl makes landfall as it moves parallel to the coast.
On Monday Earl battered islands in the Caribbean with winds of more than 120 miles per hour, leaving widespread damage in its wake.
It's all hands on deck for emergency management teams up and down the coast.
On Long Island they are tracking the storm and reviewing evacuation plans in case Earl gets to close.
"What scares me the most is a hurricane," says Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano. "There hasn't been a hurricane on Long Island to this degree since 1938."
The danger from Earl is already present along the coast with rip currents being generated from Florida to the Northeast, while the National Hurricane Center is warning coastal residents to watch the storm closely.