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Hurricane warning issued for swath of North Carolina



By BRUCE SMITH

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- As one of the year's busiest travel weekends approaches, so does another visitor: Tropical Storm Arthur, expected to grow into a hurricane by the Fourth of July and hit most harshly at North Carolina's Outer Banks, a popular getaway spot of thin barrier islands along the shore.

The first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season prompted a hurricane warning for a wide swath of the North Carolina coast and had officials, hotel owners and would-be vacationers as far north as New England carefully watching forecasts.

The Outer Banks will be especially vulnerable, forecasters said. The area's tourism agency expects about 250,000 people to travel there and stay in hotels and rental homes for the long holiday weekend.

"We want everybody to be safe and prepared, but we are not overly concerned at this point," said Lee Nettles, the executive director the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau. He noted that forecasters were predicting the storm would move fast and be less severe than others in locals' memories.

But flooding concerns remained: Twice in recent years, storm-driven waves have sliced North Carolina Route 12, the main road along the islands, rendering it unpassable. On Ocracoke Island, accessible only by ferry, a voluntary evacuation was announced.

Stores saw runs on generators, lanterns and flashlights, but even some workers weren't yet concerned.

"I've been through Irene. I went through Isabelle," said Bill Motley, who works at Ace Hardware in Nags Head has lived on the Outer Banks for 13 years. "I'm not even worried about this one. I'm more worried about my tomato plants. With the wind coming, if we get a 50-mph gust, it will knock over my tomato plants."

At a news conference, Gov. Pat McCrory advised residents, "Don't put your stupid hat on." With concerns of rip tides, he urged surfers and swimmers not to get in the water regardless of how good the waves might be.

"Our major goal is to ensure that no lives are lost during this upcoming storm," including those of emergency workers, McCrory said. He declared a state of emergency for 25 coastal and adjoining counties.

Nancy Janitz, 60, of Jacksonville, North Carolina, said she was ready, thanks to technology.

"I have my NOAA radio, and I keep tabs on Twitter and Facebook for updates," she said. "I'm as prepared as I can possibly be."

On Wednesday afternoon, Arthur was about 220 miles (355 kilometers) south of Charleston and moving north about 7 mph (11 kph) with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph). The National Hurricane Center predicted it would grow to a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of at least 74 mph either late Wednesday or sometime Thursday.

The forecast did not call for a landfall in the U.S., but officials and travelers north to New England kept an eye on the storm's projected path. Many areas warned of upcoming rain, wind and potential rip tides.

The worst of the storm should occur at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, about dawn Friday, with 3 to 5 inches of rain and sustained winds up to 85 mph, said Tony Saavedra, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service. But forecasters said that by later Friday, the effects of Arthur would be past the Outer Banks, with the rest of the weekend salvaged.

The Hurricane Center predicted the storm would be off the coast of New England later in the day and eventually make landfall in Canada's maritime provinces as a tropical storm.

In the Myrtle Beach area, the heart of South Carolina's $18 billion tourism industry, Arthur was expected to move in by Thursday night, spinning wind gusts from 40 to 50 mph toward the high-rise hotels and condominiums lining the oceanfront.

Farther south, in Hilton Head Island on the state's southern tip, most were confident would pass well out at sea.

"It will be a sold-out weekend," said Charlie Clark, a spokeswoman for the local Chamber of Commerce. "... We're not getting calls from visitors asking what's up with this storm."

Back on North Carolina's storm-tested Hatteras Island, one longtime resident said she had stocked up on supplies but was otherwise unfazed by Arthur's approach.

Even though Dawn Taylor had to put coolers on the top floor of her home in Avon to catch the rain after Hurricane Irene damaged the roof in 2011, she won't leave her home because of a hurricane. And certainly not this one. Even her 85-year-old father is staying put with her.

And her advice to less experienced tourists? Think twice before riding things out on the island.

"It's not their environment. They're not used to it," she said. "It's a whole different world out here, a whole different lifestyle."

---

Associated Press writers Martha Waggoner in Raleigh, N.C.; Matt Small in Washington; and Tony Winton in Miami contributed to this report.

Tropical Storm Arthur Could Drench 4th Of July Plans

Join the discussion

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rayser711 July 02 2014 at 12:05 PM

Ok .......I've got it.....From now on we refer to OBAMA as Tropical Storm Barack....He can and has caused havoc as good as any tropical storm or huricane. He can cause devistation over a much wider area than any type of storm !

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16 replies
Joan July 02 2014 at 10:38 AM

Wishing safety for all in affected areas.

Flag Reply +11 rate up
1 reply
Chickiepoo Joan July 02 2014 at 1:51 PM

Thank you......from the OBX.......:))

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Hello, Jeffrey July 02 2014 at 2:55 PM

Those of you who continue to hate on this president turning any and every potential danger into an opportunity to show how you are a product of siblngs....get a life!

Flag Reply +6 rate up
2 replies
mlaurel58 Hello, Jeffrey July 02 2014 at 4:01 PM

GWB's political opposites blamed him for shortage of flu vaccine and steroids in baseball, but shucks, what's a little well-placed hate to the left.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
jchowell3657 Hello, Jeffrey July 02 2014 at 8:15 PM

Go ahead and stick your head up the butt of a tyrant. That empowers him and just gives you a sh*tty head.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Robert Young July 02 2014 at 11:53 AM

This damn climate change@! If only we just kept living in caves and hunting and gathering for sustenance, these storms would not be occurring.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
2 replies
jchowell3657 Robert Young July 02 2014 at 8:10 PM

You can't live in a cave because it may be critical habitat for an endangered species. You can't hunt because eating animals destroys the earth, and you should be eating lower on the food chain. You can't gather, because harvesting plants reduces Mother Earth's efforts to heal herself from the damage done by nasty, greasy, capitalist exploiters. Now what does that leave?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
unclesi412 jchowell3657 July 02 2014 at 11:11 PM

Welfare?

Flag 0 rate up
gzulu Robert Young July 03 2014 at 2:37 AM

Nope, it happened then too.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
almasearch July 02 2014 at 10:49 AM

OBX residents will likely think nothing of it. It will be "business as usual" for them.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
2 replies
Chickiepoo almasearch July 02 2014 at 11:30 AM

HERE on the OBX......that's pretty much
right.........:))

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Tim Landrum Sr. almasearch July 02 2014 at 6:28 PM

biscuts and porn ! thats all i need to say !!! damn, im hungry now !!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Mike McCormack July 02 2014 at 11:13 AM

Well this is considered the big news on AOL.. Yeah a tropical storm that *may* become a hurricane.

Any word on Jos eph Morr issey the VA Democrat lawmaker that was having inappropriate relations with his underage intern?? Nothing.. Ohhh that's right anything wrong a Democrat does will be well hidden from the media.. We all know if this was a republican nobody would know there is any storm out there..

Thanks HP for that unbiased news coverage. May the people you protect turn and stab you in the back first.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
8 replies
moradadavislodi July 02 2014 at 2:28 PM

Surf's up! I know a few people who aren't going to be at work tomorrow.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
letrptjohn July 02 2014 at 12:54 PM

I remember a time when when people had intilgent - intellejent - entellengent - smart stuff to say.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
3 replies
phpoling July 02 2014 at 11:57 PM

Good luck and stay safe to people who live on the East Coast

Flag Reply +2 rate up
d1anaw July 02 2014 at 11:44 AM

So where are all the blasts and slams that people shouldn't live in the path of hurricanes? Oh yeah, it's the east coast, the same rules don't apply. We should be happy to pay for them to rebuild over and over.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
5 replies
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