UPDATE: Hurricane Warnings Issued as Arthur Strengthens
Lynchburg, VA - What started as a weak area of low pressure off the Florida coast over the weekend has developed into a strong tropical storm that will bring serious impacts to parts of the Carolina coastline and Outer Banks Thursday into Friday.
As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, Arthur was 220 miles south-southeast of Charleston, SC. The storm's sustained winds have increased to 70 mph. Aurthur has shown showing signs of strengthening throughout the day Wednesday. The National Hurricane Center predicts Arthur to become a hurricane Thursday afternoon, just grazing the Outer Banks of North Carolina late Thursday night. Winds are forecast to increase to around 85 mph Thursday with gusts to 100 mph near the storm's center. A Hurricane Warning is now in effect for the North Carolina coast, meaning that hurricane-force winds and conditions are expected within 24 hours.On its forecast track, Arthur's impacts will be limited to the immediate coast Thursday before turning to the north and east on Saturday. Our area will see showers and storms along an approaching cold front from the west. The front will work with the tropical air to produce heavy downpours but the direct impacts will stay along the coast. Vacationers from Myrtle Beach and north to the Outer Banks will see weather conditions go downhill quickly during the day on Thursday. "The impacts at Myrtle Beach will be moderate, with some 30 to 50 mph gusts Thursday and Thursday night, but the storm will clear quickly for midday Friday," said ABC 13 Chief Meteorologist Sean Sublette. "If driving down Friday morning, there should be no issues at all at the beach upon arrival." While Myrtle Beach will likely avoid a direct hit from Arthur, areas to the north and east will see more of an impact as the storm's center gets closer on Thursday night into early Friday. "Some [wind] gusts there 50-80 mph are expected during that time, with overwash and some minor structural damage," Sublette explained. "If I was planning to be anywhere between Kitty Hawk and Cape Hatteras, I would wait until Friday morning or even midday to leave, so I did not drive into the worst of the storm." Power outages are possible along the Outer Banks along with several inches of rain. High surf and rip currents will be a danger up and down the east coast from the storm Thursday into Friday. The same cold front over our area Thursday will act to accelerate Arthur to the northeast Friday into the weekend, with clearing just in time for the July 4 Holiday weekend. For a LIVE Weather Chat on the storm, click here. For the complete ABC 13 forecast, click here.