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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid