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

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid