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July 2, 2014

Arthur’s size will limit his effect on our coast

Even if Tropical Storm Arthur becomes a hurricane, his effects will be pretty minimal if he follows the current forecast track.

This is not the first time North Carolina has had a storm named Arthur off our coast. In 1996, little tropical storm Arthur spun up in late July east of Harkers Island and traveled northeast, hitting the Outer Banks between Avon and Salvo and then promptly weakened. It never made it to hurricane strength.

Arthur 2014 might just make it to hurricane strength, but his sustained winds have to make it to 64 knots, or 74 miles per hour. In the most recent update, his winds were at just 50 knots. A new update should be provided by the National Hurricane Center at 5:00pm.

The amount of damage a category 1 hurricane can do depends on a few factors. The sustained winds will range from 74 to 95 mph and can cause branches to snap and trees with shallow roots to fall, which would likely lead to power outages in some areas. If a storm is slow moving and large scale, geographically speaking, the wind and rain field could cause more damage with storm surge and flooding farther inland in low-lying areas.

Luckily, Arthur is very small with tropical storm force winds currently extending up to just 80 miles from his center, and he is picking up speed. If Arthur sticks to the current forecast track, the Outer Banks can expect some wind and up to 4 inches of rain. He should be moving away from the North Carolina coast by Friday morning, continuing on his northeasterly track and leaving holiday vacationers with a pleasant weekend.

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