Tropical Storm Arthur strengthened Wednesday and was forecast to grow into a hurricane by the Fourth of July holiday, taking aim at North Carolina’s Outer Banks, a thin ribbon of barrier islands and popular vacation spot.
Dare County, N.C., officials said a mandatory evacuation of Hatteras Island along the Outer Banks would begin at 5 a.m. Thursday. After that time, no one will be allowed on the island.
Officials said residents and out-of-town visitors who may already have arrived for the Fourth of July weekend should evacuate during daylight before the tropical storm brings high winds, rough seas, dangerous rip currents and possible flooding on N.C. 12. The two-lane highway is the only way on and off the island other than ferries to the south.
The National Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane warning for all of Dare County. Arthur is expected to become a hurricane by Thursday.
The approaching storm was having an impact to the north as well. In Boston, the annual July 4th Boston Pops concert and fireworks display was advanced by a day to Thursday evening because of the threat of severe weather Friday from the storm.
The first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season prompted a hurricane warning for a wide swath of the North Carolina coast and had officials, hotel owners and would-be vacationers as far north as New England carefully watching forecasts.