Published: Sep 01, 2010 5:51 PM EDT
Updated: Sep 01, 2010 2:43 PM EDT

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Federal officials say Hurricane Earl's effect on the East Coast will depend on when it makes its expected turn to the northeast near North Carolina's Outer Banks.

National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read says a later-than-expected turn could mean the storm's eye makes landfall on the extreme eastern tip of North Carolina as a Category 3 storm late Thursday or early Friday.

Read says hurricane-force winds also could reach New York's Long Island and Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Another concern is dangerous rip currents likely to be felt from the Carolinas north as tourists visit East Coast beaches for the Labor Day weekend.

Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate says the effects are most likely to be felt by residents of and visitors to coastal barrier islands, inlets and bays.