Ahead of July 4th, storm nears popular NC coast

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- Stores on North Carolina's Outer Banks are seeing a run on generators, lanterns and flashlights, as Tropical Storm Arthur approaches. The storm is expected to grow into a hurricane by Friday -- the Fourth of July -- and the Outer Banks could be the area that is hit the hardest.

Already, there's a tropical storm warning for the entire North Carolina coast. And officials, hotel owners and would-be vacationers as far north as New England are carefully watching the forecasts.

The tourism agency for the Outer Banks is expecting about 250,000 people to travel there and stay in hotels and rental homes for the long holiday weekend. The head of the local Visitors Bureau says he's not "overly concerned," because forecasters are predicting that the storm will move through quickly, and that it won't be as severe as others that have hit the area.

But there are concerns about possible flooding. And there's a voluntary evacuation on an island that is accessible only by ferry.

The storm currently has top sustained winds of about 60 miles an hour. It's expected to become a Category 1 hurricane with winds of at least 74 miles an hour tomorrow.

The forecast doesn't anticipate landfall in the United States. But officials in many areas near the path of the storm are warning of rain, wind and potential rip tides.

(Copyright 2014. The Associated Press.)

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