Storm Arthur turning into Category 2 hurricane, islands evacuated

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Raleigh, NC, United States (4E) – Tropical Storm Arthur is a Category 1 hurricane as of Thursday with maximum winds of 90 mph and forecasters said it could turn into a Category 2 hurricane overnight as it nears North Carolina’s coast.

North Carolina’s eastern edge may see winds between 74 and 110 mph once the accelerating Arthur arrives, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Arthur’s center makes its closest approach, or passes over, the Outer Banks, very early in the morning as a Category 2 hurricane, then continues northeast into the open Atlantic, located well off southeast New England by late Friday night, said. The hurricane is expected to be off Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket Island Saturday morning as it exits.

Arthur was 260 miles southwest of Cape Hatteras and moving northeast at 14 mph at midday Thursday, according to forecasters. They predicted it will arrive in southern North Carolina around 8 p.m. Thursday bringing 95 mph winds, beach-eroding waves, flooding, isolated tornadoes and dangerous rip currents. Storm surges of 2 to 4 feet are expected for the Outer Banks and Pamlico and Albemarle sounds while 6 inches of rainfall is expected in some areas.

The National Weather Service issued a hurricane warning for the state’s coastal communities, including Brunswick, Carteret, Currituck, Onslow, Dare, Craven, Pamlico and Hyde counties. A tropical storm warning is up from Little River inlet northward to the Virginia border. A tropical storm watch is in effect south of Little River Inlet to the South Santee River in South Carolina. A tornado watch continues into early Friday morning for coastal and eastern North Carolina.

Carteret and Hyde counties were placed under a state of emergency Wednesday night ahead of the storm. Residents and visitors at Ocracoke Island and Hatteras Island were evacuated by ferries on Wednesday and Thursday.

National Park Service campgrounds along several beaches and the lighthouses at Cape Hatteras and Bodie Island were shut down Wednesday until further notice.

Meanwhile, the coastal communities of Manteo, Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, Avon and Atlantic Beach all delayed their Fourth of July fireworks planned for Friday.

Arthur will be the first hurricane to hit North Carolina since Sandy in 2012.

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