July 1, 2014

UPDATE: Arthur forecast to pass offshore
of Outer Banks as minimal hurricane

The low pressure off Florida became a tropical depression late last night and a tropical storm late this morning.

Tropical Storm Arthur, the first named storm of the 2014 hurricane season, is forecast to pass just offshore of  the Outer Banks early Friday as a minimal hurricane.

And the area of "most concern," according to the forecasters, is Cape Hatteras, which juts out well east into the Atlantic.

As of 5 p.m. today, the National Hurricane Center predicts the storm will be just east of the Cape.  However, a few important details are still uncertain -- how close will the storm come to the Cape and how strong will it be?

Arthur spent most of today hanging out off Florida and moving just slightly, though now it is moving to the northwest instead of the south and southwest.  At 5 p.m., the storm was packing 50 mph winds, the pressure was 1003 millibars, and it was moving northwest at 2 mph.

Thunderstorms had intensified, but some dry air was still mixing in from the north.

The Hurricane Center says conditions will become more favorable for the storm tomorrow and it will intensify quickly.

The "cone of uncertainty" shows the storm somewhere east of Charleston, S.C., at 80 mph on Thursday afternoon. 

Right now the forecast is that Arthur will make its closest approach to Cape Hatteras late Thursday night and early Friday -- and currently the Cape is right in the center of the cone.

It will speed up as it passes the Outer Banks, and by Friday night, it is forecast to be off New York -- but still at 90 mph.

The concerns for the Outer Banks are high winds, high seas, rough surf, heavy rainfall, and coastal flooding.

The storm's easterly winds will push water onto the ocean beaches as it approaches and then will push water from the Pamlico Sound up on the back side of Hatteras and Ocracoke as the storm passes and the wind shifts northwest.

Again, the questions are: how close the storm will be and how hard the winds will blow? If it's close and if it's a hurricane, the storm surge could be significant.

Dare and Hyde county Emergency Management Offices are monitoring the storm.

Residents and visitors should be aware of changing weather conditions, keep up with the local and tropical forecasts on radio, television, or the Internet, and listen for any announcements from emergency management.

The local NWS weather service office in Newport's website is http://www.weather.gov/mhx/. The National Hurricane Center can be found at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.

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