Shore prepares for visit from Earl

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - August 31, 2010

Still, emergency management officials are already making preparations for Earl, which is now just days away.

Atlantic City police, fire and EMS officials were participating in a series of meetings on Tuesday to make plans if the hurricane hits. The feeling now is that they will mostly be dealing with wind and rain.

However, that could change, so rescuers are making sure they're prepared.

Starting Wednesday officials will be moving garbage cans and lifeguard stands off the beach and up onto the boardwalks and tie them down, just in case.

Another challenge is the annual shortage of lifeguards this time of year. About 30% of Ventnor's lifeguards are college students who've headed back to school. The captain of the beach patrol says Hurricane Earl won't help matters.

"It's that tough time of the season where the waves get bigger, the water's still warm, the crowd's here and the lifeguards are leaving--so its getting a little harder for us as the waves get bigger," said Capt.Bill Howarth of the Ventnor beach patrol.

For their part, beachgoers did not seem too concerned about Earl so far.

"They say that it was going to go around the Carolinas, say "bye-bye" to us and go somewhere else," said Vinnie DiMaria of Manahawkin, New Jersey. "Hopefully it doesn't strike us."

Ramon Saldogado of North Philadelphia said it didn't feel like hurricane was coming. "It's nice and warm, and the water's not cold."

"We're just here until Thursday morning," said Mike Jidaro of Ontario, Canada. "We're going to miss it."

Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate said Tuesday that people along the eastern seaboard should be prepared in case evacuations are necessary later this week.

Officials will be closely monitoring the movement of the Category 4 storm to determine which parts of the coast will face the greatest impact. It's too early to tell right now what those might be.

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