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

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More