News / USA

Hurricane Arthur Gains Strength as It Nears North Carolina

Tybee Island Ocean Rescue Senior Lifeguard Todd Horne, right, and Mark Eichenlaub, left, hang a yellow flag that warns swimmer of strong rip currents from Hurricane Arthur along the beach, on Tybee Island, Georgia, July 3, 2014.
Tybee Island Ocean Rescue Senior Lifeguard Todd Horne, right, and Mark Eichenlaub, left, hang a yellow flag that warns swimmer of strong rip currents from Hurricane Arthur along the beach, on Tybee Island, Georgia, July 3, 2014.
VOA News

The first hurricane of the Atlantic season gained strength on Thursday is expected to attain Category 2 status as it reaches the North Carolina coast, where thousands of vacationers scrubbed their July Fourth holiday plans amid evacuation orders.

“Arthur is expected to be a Category two hurricane when it passes over or near the North Carolina coast,” the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its latest advisory.

At 1500 GMT, the hurricane was located about 110 miles (175 kilometers) south-southwest of Cape Fear, North Carolina, with maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (150 kph).

Earlier Thursday, Arthur had become the first hurricane of the 2014 Atlantic season.

The storm sparked evacuations, leading to the closing of beaches and tourist sites, and disrupted Independence Day celebrations along parts of the U.S. East Coast.

Moving faster at 10 mph (17 kph), the center of the storm is now expected to brush close to the North Carolina Outer Banks late Thursday and early Friday with winds reaching up to 105 mph (170 kph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Path of Hurricane ArthurPath of Hurricane Arthur
x
Path of Hurricane Arthur
Path of Hurricane Arthur

News reports said that as many as 500,000 visitors had been expected to pack Carolina beaches for the national holiday, the region's biggest tourist weekend.

Early warnings

Authorities had on Wednesday begun closing campgrounds, lighthouses and beaches on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Several towns and villages rescheduled Independence Day festivities and fireworks plans as the storm picked up speed.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency on Wednesday for 25 eastern counties to help prepare for possible damage.

  • Vehicles navigate a flooded Highway 64 as wind pushes water over the road as Hurricane Arthur passes through Nags Head, North Carolina, July 4, 2014.
  • A vehicle sits in rising waters as Hurricane Arthur passes through the area in Nags Head, North Carolina, July 4, 2014.
  • Kyler Cook, 18, (R) and Brodie Fox, 10, both from Tiffen, Ohio, walk through the storm surge of Hurricane Arthur, in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, July 3, 2014
  • A "No Swimming" sign is pictured at Myrtle Beach State Park in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Arthur, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, July 3, 2014.
  • Nicole Specht and Ryan Witman pack their Honda CRV before heading back home to Lancaster, Pennsylvania because of the mandatory evacuation, in Rodanthe, N.C., July 3, 2014.
  • This satellite image released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows Tropical Storm Arthur moving north off the east coast of Florida, July 2, 2014,
  • Bob Jenkins holds on to his hat as he and his friend Darlene Pittman take their dogs for a walk as wind from Hurricane Arthur become more intense, Surfside Beach, South Carolina July 3, 2014.
  • A man walks along the surf before the rains and outer bands of Hurricane Arthur move closer, in Surfside Beach, South Carolina, July 3, 2014.
  • Tourists walk on the surf before the arrival of rains and outer bands of Hurricane Arthur, in Surfside Beach, South Carolina July 3, 2014.
  • Forecasters warn that large swells caused by Hurricane Arthur spinning offshore could cause some beach erosion, Folly Beach, South Carolina, July 3, 2014.

Forecasters expect Arthur to whip past the state's Outer Banks on Friday without making landfall, but McCrory warned vacationers along the coast not to risk their safety by trying to salvage their picnics, barbecues and pre-paid beach cottage vacations.

"Don't put your stupid hat on," McCrory said.

McCrory urged residents and visitors to take shelter and stay away from the water.​

Addressing the media directly, he urged journalists to stay out of harm's way as they gathered information on the hurricane.

“We need the media to help inform you, but I don't want the media to pull a Dan Rather on us,” McCrory said, referring to a former network anchor who was became the first TV correspondent to report from the center of a storm in 1961.

“You don't need to prove to citizens that wind is powerful by standing out in the wind on a live shot. You don't need to stick your foot in the water to prove that waves are powerful and it can take you out in the ocean,” the governor said.

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 four feet (1.2 meters) to North Carolina's barrier islands.

After passing over the Outer Banks, Arthur should accelerate toward the northeast and remain offshore on Friday as it diminishes in strength, posing no serious risk to the northeastern United States, forecasters said.

In addition to the hurricane warning, tropical storm warnings were in effect for coastal areas in South Carolina and Virginia.

The storm disrupted plans for holiday beachgoers and others ordered off low-lying barrier islands in the storm's path.

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.

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.

Runners pass by the Hatch Memorial Shell stage as officials prepare to celebrate Independence Day a day early in Boston, Massachusetts, July 3, 2014.Runners pass by the Hatch Memorial Shell stage as officials prepare to celebrate Independence Day a day early in Boston, Massachusetts, July 3, 2014.
x
Runners pass by the Hatch Memorial Shell stage as officials prepare to celebrate Independence Day a day early in Boston, Massachusetts, July 3, 2014.
Runners pass by the Hatch Memorial Shell stage as officials prepare to celebrate Independence Day a day early in Boston, Massachusetts, July 3, 2014.

Boston Pops rescheduled

Boston officials also delayed 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 annual outdoor concert and fireworks show, one of the city's signature events, has been moved to Thursday because of potential heavy rain ahead of the storm. Arthur is forecast to pass well east of New England beginning Friday night.

Arthur would be the first hurricane to hit the U.S. since Superstorm Sandy devastated New York and New Jersey in October 2012 and caused $70 billion estimated damage.

The storm is the first of the Atlantic hurricane season, which started on June 1 and runs through November 30.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.

You May Like

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs