Hurricane warning issued as Tropical Storm Arthur threatens July 4th plans along East Coast

July 02, 2014

A hurricane warning was issued for part of North Carolina’s coast late Wednesday as Tropical Storm Arthur moved northward, threatening Fourth of July plans across the eastern seaboard.

Dare County officials ordered a mandatory evacuation for residents and visitors on Hatteras Island shortly after the National Weather Service issued the hurricane warning for Surf City, N.C. north to Duck. A tropical storm watch was in effect for parts of Florida and South Carolina.

The storm’s maximum sustained winds late Wednesday were near 70 mph. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Arthur was expected to strengthen and become a hurricane by Thursday.

With the July Fourth weekend on the horizon, the Atlantic hurricane season’s first named storm plodded off Florida’s coast but wasn’t yet spooking too many in the storm’s potential path.

“I think everybody’s keeping one eye on the weather and one eye on the events this weekend,” said Joe Marinelli, president of Visit Savannah, the city’s tourism bureau.

It was centered about 435 miles south-southwest of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina late Wednesday.

The system has sent a lot of moisture to South Florida already, the Miami Herald reported. On Monday, parts of Miami Beach received as much as 3.5 inches, while the Doral area also topped three inches and Miami International Airport received less than two inches.

Off Florida’s Space Coast beaches — the closest to Arthur — the sky was cloudy and winds fairly normal Tuesday, said Eisen Witcher, assistant chief of Brevard County Ocean Rescue.

Red flags warned of rough surf, and beachgoers were advised to get into the water only in areas with staffed lifeguard stands. But overall, Witcher said, “it’s business as usual.”

Red flags also flew Tuesday at Daytona Beach. By midday, a dozen swimmers had been aided by lifeguards when they got caught in a rip current. On any given day, 15 to 20 swimmers need help, said Tammy Marris, spokeswoman for the Volusia County Beach Patrol.

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