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Arthur's Impacts: High Winds, Tornadoes, Rough Surf & Rain

UPDATED 9:45 AM EDT, July 4, 2014

UPDATED By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Andrew Rosenthal


The Atlantic`s first hurricane of the season, Arthur, is departing the Outer Banks and will carve a path offshore of the Eastern Seaboard toward the Canadian Maritimes today and Saturday, creating Fourth of July headaches as it does. What impacts could it have as it zips just offshore of U.S. East Coast?

  • Wind:

So far this has been the main concern with Hurricane Arthur. Gusts have reached as high as 101 mph near the hurricane`s eye, and these winds are likely to continue across the Outer Banks through mid-morning. Arthur will then move 100-150 miles off the Eastern Seaboard, providing a glancing blow to the immediate coastline. While the strongest winds will remain offshore, tropical storm force winds could be found up to 150 miles from the center.

Thus, coastal towns and resorts from the Delmarva Peninsula to New Jersey and Long Island will be at risk for some 30-40 mph sustained winds, with gusts occasionally as high as 50 mph. The storm will swipe at southeastern New England, bringing likely 40-50 mph sustained winds to Cape Cod and the Islands through this afternoon and evening, before heading toward the Canadian Maritimes.

Inland areas, including the Interstate 95 corridor cities from Washington to Boston will see breezy conditions for the Fourth of July, but they should hold in the 25-35 mph range today.

  • Storm Surge:

Arthur is moving past the Outer Banks as a Category 2 hurricane. In general, the surge - the height of the waves on top of the normal tide - has been and will continue to range from 2 to 5 feet across the North Carolina Outer Banks as well as Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds through late morning, with 1 to 3-foot surges expected from northeast South Carolina to extreme southeastern Virginia through Friday.

Further northeast, the storm`s offshore track will limit the surge potential, with a possible 1-to-2 foot rise from the Delmarva Coast to eastern New England.

  • Tornadoes:

The banding rain squalls of hurricanes often produce quick-developing tornadoes and waterspouts. Arthur will likely spin up a few of these isolated tornadoes through this morning across coastal North Carolina and southeastern Virginia as its waves of tropical squalls churn ashore. This risk will diminish as Arthur moves away from the Carolina coastline.

  • Rainfall:

This is probably the one piece of relatively good news with Arthur. The storm is zipping along as it gets pulled northeastward along a cold front, keeping the rainfall from reaching treacherous levels in any one given area. Three to six inches of rain is likely to fall across parts of eastern North Carolina, ending later this morning. One to two inches will be found across coastal southeastern Virginia, with up to an inch of rain along the immediate Delmarva Coast. Otherwise, the rain is scattered but will be quite heavy where slow-moving thunderstorms form on Arthur`s edge.

What does this mean for the Fourth of July? Should I cancel my beach trip?

Outside of the mandatory evacuation areas of North Carolina`s Outer Banks and Cape Hatteras, in most cases, there is no need to cancel your beach trip. Arthur`s impact will be brief today and early Saturday as it accelerates up the coast. In its wake, high pressure will quickly return, leaving the weekend dry for nearly the entire East Coast.

That said, do take precautions with regard to this storm. Follow instructions from the local Emergency management team, and evacuate, if ordered. If you`re making the trip from inland, it might be worth delaying your travel until this afternoon or even Saturday morning, when Arthur will be but a memory.

The one lasting impact of the hurricane will be the surf. Arthur will churn up the Atlantic Ocean, making for some rough seas, particularly across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic today and Saturday. Strong rip-tides - an underwater current of water caused by the storm - are also anticipated through the weekend thanks to Arthur. Do not swim in the ocean at unguarded beaches or after lifeguards leave. Also, check with lifeguards about local conditions before taking a dip into the Atlantic this weekend.

Be sure to check with WeatherBug for the latest on Arthur and remember to download the WeatherBug app on your mobile phone before heading out this Fourth of July weekend. Have a safe and Happy Independence Day and get the latest updates on Arthur, anywhere on Twitter.

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