The July Fourth holiday could be a wet one for the Carolinas as the National Hurricane Center announced Tuesday that tropical storm Arthur, the first of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season, is expected to hit the area as a hurricane on Thursday.
"After remaining nearly stationary earlier this morning, Arthur appears to be drifting northwestward now with an uncertain motion of 315/02 kt," noted the NHC in a discussion of the storm Tuesday.
According to USA Today, the tropical depression formed late Monday night as it moved off Florida's east coast at 2 mph. The NHC's 11 a.m. ET advisory said the system was located about 95 miles southeast of Cape Canaveral. It is also moving with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph with tropical-storm-force winds that extend 45 miles from its center.
The system, according to the NHC, is expected to develop speed and begin moving faster toward the northeast by Thursday and Friday.
"By days four and five, Arthur is forecast to move over the far north Atlantic as an extratropical cyclone," noted the NHC.
A tropical storm watch has been issued for the coast of east-central Florida from Fort Pierce north to Flagler Beach, which could be hit by 1 to 3 inches of rain by late Tuesday.
Beachgoers are now being warned of rip currents.
"There's fairly strong southward-flowing long shore current," warned Bob Cristaldi, a National Weather Service forecaster in Melbourne, Florida. "And when you have strong winds with a system and it kind of generates some swell, you tend to get an increase in rip current activity."
The NHC's forecast track indicates that the storm will near the North Carolina outer banks around 2 a.m. Friday as a hurricane.
Forecasters told CNN that after the storm is done with the Carolinas, it will likely bring showers to New York City and Boston in the northeast. The rains should subside over the weekend.