Hurricane Arthur strengthens, may touch land

A lifeguard monitors the beach in Nags Head, N.C., Thursday, July 3, 2014. Hurricane Arthur is forecast to pass by Hatteras Island on Friday morning. The island is under mandatory evacuation orders. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
A lifeguard monitors the beach in Nags Head, N.C., Thursday, July 3, 2014. Hurricane Arthur is forecast to pass by Hatteras Island on Friday morning. The island is under mandatory evacuation orders. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

RODANTHE, N.C. (AP) — Forecasters say the odds are increasing that Hurricane Arthur will actually make landfall. But they say even if that doesn’t happen, coastal North Carolina is going to feel the impact overnight and tomorrow.

They expect Arthur to speed up to a Category 2 storm and pass over or near the Outer Banks early in the day — bringing rain, heavy winds, storm surge and dangerous rip currents. Its top sustained winds are currently clocked at 90 miles an hour.

The timing is bad for the state’s Outer Banks — where tourism officials had expected 250,000 visitors for the holiday weekend. But North Carolina’s governor says it still should be a “beautiful weekend” after the storm passes tomorrow.

And some of the people who are vacationing this week in the Outer Banks are planning to ride out the hurricane. A Virginia man who was on the beach today said he didn’t see any reason to disrupt his family’s vacation.

In Miami, maximum sustained winds were recorded late Thursday morning at 90 mph. Hurricane warnings on North Carolina’s coast stretch from Surf City to the Virginia border. A hurricane watch is in effect for other parts of the state.

Arthur-related worries have prompted some East Coast cities to reschedule July Fourth festivities and warn of dangerous rip tides.

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