NEW YORK, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- The National Hurricane Center downgraded Hurricane Earl to a Category 1 storm on Friday as it continued up the coast toward New York.
With winds of 85 miles per hour, Hurricane Earl appeared to be fizzling out on Friday afternoon. It has been steadily weakening as it churned up the coast due mostly to cooler waters and wind shears disrupting the circulation of the storm, according to the National Weather Service.
Forecasters also lifted tropical storm watches that were in effect for Manhattan and the rest of New York City but did leave eastern Long Island under a tropical storm warning as the area was still expected to get strong winds and big waves as the storm passed by.
Hurricane Earl's whipping winds are adding a wrinkle to an already busy three-day Labor Day weekend when more than 34 million people are expected to travel at least 50 miles from home.
The Long Island Rail Road canceled some Friday train services, worrying the storm could pull down trees and power lines in the area. John F. Kennedy International and Newark Liberty International airports implemented a ground stop for arriving aircraft because of weather and wind, while La Guardia airport is experiencing ground delays of up to one hour, according to flight delay information on the Federal Aviation Administration's website.
Hurricane Earl is expected to pass about 225 miles east of Long Island and bring heavy winds and high waves on Friday evening.