Hurricane Arthur is playing havoc with holiday plans along the North Carolina coastline. The National Hurricane Center reports that Arthur is building strength. With the 11 a.m. Eastern time showing top sustained winds at 90 miles an hour, it's likely that Arthur will be a category 2 storm with winds exceeding 95 miles an hour by the time it makes its closest pass to North Carolina's Outer Banks.
After passes from both Air Force Reserve and NOAA aircraft NHC forecaster Daniel Brown says in his mid-morning discussion that several factors are working in Arthur's favor. “Arthur is forecast to remain in low shear and move over warm water during the next 24 hours. This should allow for some additional intensification. The updated NHC intensity forecast now calls for Arthur to reach category two strength prior to its landfall or closest approach to the coast, in agreement with tightly clustered intensity guidance.”
The good news is that after its brush with the Carolinas, Brown says Arthur will hit cooler water, more wind shear and a low-pressure trough that will cause it to weaken into a strong extratropical cyclone by Saturday. According to Brown, computer models agree that Arthur will soon take a northeastward turn that would put on a course parallel to the rest of the Eastern Seaboard.
While the first month of the 2014 hurricane season was a quiet one, Weather Underground Founder, Dr. Jeff Masters says in his Thursday morning blog entry that Arthur's arrival is a bit ahead of schedule. “Arthur is the first Atlantic July hurricane since Hurricane Alex of 2010, and arrives over a month prior to the typical August 10 arrival of the season's first hurricane. Heavy rains from the intensifying hurricane have already begun this morning along the southern North Carolina coast atWilmington, and will spread northeastwards along the North Carolina coast today.”
Whether this means that the 2014 hurricane season will go down as an active one or a relatively quiet one such as 2013 is less important than where any storms that may develop end up going. As the 1992 season which spawned only four hurricanes, including Hurricane Andrew, shows it only takes one hitting the right (or wrong) place to make the season a disastrous one for those in the way.