News

As Arthur approaches East Coast, tourists head out

As Arthur approaches East Coast, tourists head out

HURRICANE ARTHUR:A man stands underneath the Brooklyn Bridge to photograph a summer storm bearing down on New York July 2. Photo: Reuters//Lucas Jackson

By Gene Cherry

(Reuters) – The first hurricane of the Atlantic season gained strength on Thursday as its outer bands reached North Carolina, where thousands of vacationers scrubbed their July Fourth holiday beach plans and evacuated low-lying barrier islands in the storm’s path.

Hurricane Arthur was about 150 miles south-southwest of Cape Fear, North Carolina, with maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour, U.S. forecasters said.

Moving faster at 9 mph, the center of the Category 1 hurricane was expected to brush close to the North Carolina Outer Banks late Thursday and early Friday, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Tourists and some residents packed ferries and crowded the only highway off Ocracoke and Hatteras islands, where voluntary and mandatory evacuations were in effect in anticipation of worsening weather conditions.

“Pre-storm jitters and preparation,” Dare County Commissioner Allen Burrus said of the mood early on Thursday. “Right now it is beautiful, but it is going to deteriorate around 5 or 6 this afternoon.”

Some locals said they would ride out the storm. Retiree Gerry Lebing, who owns a home in Waves on Hatteras Island, said he was tying things down at his house and moving cars to higher ground to avoid damage from the potential storm surge.

The worst of Arthur’s winds were expected to remain offshore, forecasters said. But the storm could bring gusty squalls, heavy rain, life-threatening rip currents and a storm surge of up to 4 feet to North Carolina’s barrier islands.

“There could be loss of electricity, there could be restaurants closing, there could be cars flooding and roads could be compromised,” Hyde County manager Bill Rich said.

Several towns and villages on North Carolina’s coast rescheduled Independence Day festivities and fireworks as the storm approached.

Farther up the coast, the resort town of Ocean City, Maryland, moved its July Fourth fireworks display to Saturday because of the storm.

Boston officials also moved up to Thursday a nationally televised concert by the Boston Pops and a fireworks display, which draw hundreds of thousands of spectators to the city’s riverfront.

The hurricane center said Arthur’s winds will hit 85 mph in the next 24 hours, and the storm will retain hurricane strength for at least 48 hours before weakening over cooler water as it spins to the northeast.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry; Additional reporting by Anupam Chatterjee in Bangalore, Eric M. Johnson in Seattle and David Adams in Miami; Writing by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Eric Beech)

Recent Headlines

in Lifestyle, National

Gas prices jump 13 cents; could climb further

Fresh
gas

The average national price of a regular gallon of gasoline has jumped in the past two weeks to $2.58.

in Sports

Preview: NHL games of the night

Fresh
22-overlay5

A look at tonight's slate of Stanley Cup playoff games.

in Sports

Monday’s Sports Minute

Fresh
CAVS

A look at some of the sports stories making headlines today, Monday, April 27.

in Sports

Baseball fans asked to stay at stadium after violent protest

Fresh
baltimore

In the middle of the ninth inning, the public address announcer told fans that city officials requested no one leave because of "ongoing public safety issues."

in National, Sports

Tsarnaev’s life on line as defense argues against execution

Fresh
bostonbombing

Lawyers for the Boston Marathon bomber are returning to federal court to make their case that his life should be spared.