Tropical Storm Arthur, the first named storm in the Atlantic for 2020, will bring high surf, heavy rains and strong winds to the coast of North Carolina.
As of early Monday morning, Arthur is churning off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina with sustained winds of 45 mph, according to CNN Meteorologist Robert Shackelford.
The storm, which is moving north-northeast at 12 mph, is not expected to make landfall. Arthur is forecast to turn to northeast and pick up speed as it heads towards North Carolina, skirting the coast Monday before moving back east into the ocean late Monday night, Shackelford said.
Tropical storm force winds will extend outward up to 90 miles from the center. Officials are telling the public to be prepared as the storm is expected to strengthen in the next 48 hours.
Governor urges people to 'pay close attention'
The official start of hurricane season is still two weeks away, but North Carolina is already preparing residents to keep their eyes on Arthur as the storm ramps up.
"Everyone in our coastal areas should remain aware and cautious as Arthur brushes our coast on Monday," Gov. Roy Cooper said in a press release issued Sunday. "Pay close attention to the forecast and don't take chance in dangerous surf."
Tropical storm advisories have been issued from Surf City to Duck and Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds, Shackelford said.
Strong winds will arrive early Monday in the state and persist until the evening. Sustained winds of 20-40 mph are possible inland while gusts of 15-25 mph could occur along the US 17 corridor. Scattered power outages are also possible, the release from the governor's office said.
"This early season storm reminds us that we always need to be prepared for severe weather," North Carolina Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry said in a press release issued Sunday.
Dangerous marine conditions
Arthur is expected to have an even greater impact on the state's Outer Banks. which could see gusty winds between 50-65 mph and between one to three inches of rain.
Heavy surf, life-threatening rip currents and dangerous marine conditions were already present on the coast Sunday and will continue Monday along the entire coast.
In Florida, dangerous rip currents led to water rescues of 70 people in Volusia county Sunday, a release from the Volusia County Beach Safety said.
Three of those people, ages 16, 17, and 24, were transported to local hospitals for precautionary reasons, Volusia County Beach Safety Captain Laura Warner told CNN in an email Sunday night.
Red and purple flags were flown Sunday to indicate dangerous rip current conditions and dangerous marine life, after Portuguese man-o-wars washed up on beaches the past two days.
Warner said the rescues took place from Ormond Beach to New Smyrna Beach.
“It is very likely that the storm in the Atlantic is effecting our surf conditions,” Warner told CNN. “But it’s not uncommon to have rough surf and dangerous rip current conditions this time of year.”