NORFOLK, Va. — Hurricane Arthur has moved back over the Atlantic and is projected to remain offshore this Fourth of July, after making landfall on the southern end of North Carolina's barrier islands yesterday with sustained winds up to 100 mph.
The National Hurricane Center said that little additional change in strength was expected and that the storm would begin weakening Friday night as it moves up the East coast. It is projected to be near or over western Nova Scotia early Saturday.
Early Friday morning, Arthur was located about 40 miles north-northeast of Cape Lookout and about 40 miles west-southwest of Cape Hatteras, N.C. It was moving northeast at 18 mph.
Hurricane warnings are in effect for most of northeastern North Carolina. Tornadoes are possible in the Carolinas and parts of southeastern Virginia through Friday morning. Rainfall of 4 to 6 inches is expected with some areas getting as much as 8 inches in a brief time.
A tropical storm warning is in effect from north of Duck, N.C., to Virginia's Eastern Shore. The warning also includes Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake and Portsmouth.
Farther up the East Coast Arthur has forced thousands of vacationers to reschedule Independence Day fireworks displays threatened by the storm.
As Arthur approached the Outer Banks as a Category 2 storm on Thursday, the big question was how much beach erosion, downed power lines and wrecked holiday weekends will be left in its wake.
"I plan to sit on the beach as long as the sun is here," then head out for a seafood dinner, said Sean Fitzgerald, 44, of Fairfax, Va., who said he saw no reason to disrupt his family's vacation at Kill Devil Hills, N.C., north of Hatteras Island in the Outer Banks.
"A lot of businesses close down here during the winter. So we do depend on a huge influx of people coming down here for the Fourth of July," said Amory Jones of Kitty Hawk Kites, which offers hang gliding, kiteboarding, parasailing, stand-up paddleboarding and wakeboarding.
A mandatory evacuation of Hatteras Island, the easternmost strip of land in the Outer Banks, began at 5 a.m. ET Thursday, about the time the National Hurricane Center upgraded Tropical Storm Arthur to hurricane status. Now no one is allowed on the island.
"We were just saying we were really, really lucky this year that the weather was so great, and then this," said Nichole Specht, 27, who ended a two-week vacation with her fiance, Ryan Witman, 28. They left Hatteras Island at 3:30 a.m. to beat the traffic.