Only a handful of tropical storms have formed off of the southeastern US coast in early July since 1851. Reaching hurricane intensity is even more rare and an incredible nuisance for the Independence Holiday. That is inevitable tomorrow as it appears Arthur may be stronger than first expected. It looked like it was trying to evacuate an eye as the last visible satellite image late afternoon.
The 2013 season may have started with two named storms in June, but it wasn’t until September 11th when the first hurricane intensity was achieved with Humberto in the eastern Atlantic.
Hurricane Arthur is currently sitting over very warm water of the Gulf Stream, with very light winds aloft allowing for rapid development. With the center identified with more precision now, this gives a better understanding of how close the impact will be on the coast. The location appears to be a little farther west, meaning a greater impact along the coastline.
Note that this a just a slight adjustment and forecast tracks show a cone of error with possible shifts along the way. But the latest outlooks does have a lock long Cape Hatteras or slightly inland in North Carolina, but still curving out to the Atlantic south of Virginia Beach. A trip farther inland would bring hurricane force winds to a larger area, but also weaken the storm. Moderate storm surge would lead to flooding and beach erosion on OBX, but a wider risk of isolated tornadoes might chase more people to evacuate.
Initially Arthur was expected to just barely reach Category 1 intensity with 75 mph winds. Since the storm is almost there and has another 30+ hours to grow, it could reach Category 2 before landfall after midnight Thursday into Friday morning as suggested by a few computer model outlooks.
Officials ordered a mandatory evacuation of Hatteras Island starting at 5 a.m. Thursday. Home to the famous Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the island is a narrow spit of land, and the two-lane North Carolina Highway 12 is the only way to the mainland other than ferries to the south. Twice in recent years, storm-driven waves have sliced N.C. 12, rendering it impassable.
A voluntary evacuation was announced earlier for the Outer Banks' Ocracoke Island, which is accessible only by ferry.
National Hurricane Center update:
SUMMARY OF 1100 PM EDT...0300 UTC...INFORMATION
- LOCATION...30.6N 79.1W
- ABOUT 380 MI...610 KM SW OF CAPE HATTERAS NORTH CAROLINA
- ABOUT 160 MI...260 KM SSE OF CHARLESTON SOUTH CAROLINA
- MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...70 MPH...110 KM/H
- PRESENT MOVEMENT...N OR 360 DEGREES AT 8 MPH...13 KM/H
- MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...988 MB...29.18 INCHES
WATCHES AND WARNINGS
CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY...
SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT...
A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* SURF CITY NORTHWARD TO DUCK
* PAMLICO SOUND
* EASTERN ALBEMARLE SOUND
A HURRICANE WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* LITTLE RIVER INLET TO SOUTH OF SURF CITY
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* SOUTH SANTEE RIVER SOUTH CAROLINA TO SOUTH OF SURF CITY
* NORTH OF DUCK TO CAPE CHARLES LIGHT VIRGINIA...NOT INCLUDING
* WESTERN ALBEMARLE SOUND
A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED
SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WARNING AREA. A WARNING IS TYPICALLY ISSUED
36 HOURS BEFORE THE ANTICIPATED FIRST OCCURRENCE OF
TROPICAL-STORM-FORCE WINDS...CONDITIONS THAT MAKE OUTSIDE
PREPARATIONS DIFFICULT OR DANGEROUS. PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE
AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION.
A HURRICANE WATCH MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE
WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...IN THIS CASE WITHIN THE NEXT 36 HOURS. ANY
DEVIATION OF THE FORECAST TRACK TO THE LEFT...OR AN INCREASE IN THE
FORECAST SIZE OF ARTHUR WOULD LIKELY REQUIRE THE ISSUANCE OF
HURRICANE WARNINGS FOR ALL OR PART OF THE HURRICANE WATCH AREA.
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
EXPECTED SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN 36 HOURS.
Prior Arthur reports:
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Facebook: Justin Berk, Meteorologist