Eye of Hurricane Arthur nears North Carolina coast

Hurricane warnings extend north to the Virginia border

By John Gaughan - Chief meteorologist , Blake Mathews - Meteorologist
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The winds spinning inside Arthur grew to 100 mph Thursday evening, making the first Atlantic tropical system of the year a Category 2 hurricane as it approached coastal Carolina.

At 11:30 p.m., the National Hurricane Center said Arthur was 75 miles west-southwest of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, moving northeast at 18 mph. The barometric pressure has been dropping since the storm formed off the coast of Florida on Tuesday and is now down to 976 mb.

Forecasters expect the core of Arthur will cross the Outer Banks, barrier islands off North Carolina overnight.  Mid-afternoon, squall lines ahead of the storm began lashing Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Wilmington, North Carolina.  Strong rain bands from the system are expected to spread north overnight.

A hurricane warning is up for the North Carolina coast from Surf City northward all the way to the Virginia border.  At 5 p.m. Thursday the NHC issued a tropical storm warning for Nantucket Island and eastern Cape Cod.

Late Thursday night, all watches and warnings south of Surf City were discontinued.

The Tropical Storm warning was also discontinue south of Cape Fear.

The NHC said the core of Arthur is expected to pass near or over the coast of North Carolina and the Outer Banks overnight, then turn more to the northeast, return to open water along the Mid-Atlantic Coast, increase speed and reach Nova Scotia by Friday night.

Environment Canada issued a Tropical Storm Watch on Thursday night for the coast of New Brunswick from the U.S.-Canada border to Grand-Anse, including all of Nova Scotia and all of Prince Edward Island.

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