On Thursday Morning, just prior to 5am EST, the National Hurricane Center deemed Arthur the first hurricane of the 2014 Atlantic Tropical Season. From 1966-2009, averages say the first hurricane develops near August 10.
With the upgrade and a forecast of continued strengthening, hurricane warnings are in effect from Surf City, North Carolina to the Virginia border, along with the Pamlico and Eastern Albemarle Sounds. This portion of coastline averages a hurricane strike every 5-7 years.
Some coastal residents and Outer Banks vacationers have been forced to evacuate. Mandatory evacuations will be underway this morning for Hatteras Island, North Carolina, with a state of emergency for the state's coastal areas.
As of 10am EST, Thursday, Arthur packs a minimum central pressure of 981mb and sustained maximum winds of 90mph with isolated higher gusts. Hurricane force winds extend 25 miles out from the storm's center, primarily on the eastern side. Tropical Storm force winds are blowing up to 115 miles out from the eye. Hurricane Arthur is jogging North-Northeast at 14mph.
Forecast models and atmospheric conditions indicate that Arthur will accelerate north and then northeastward, possibly strengthening briefly, before grazing the North Carolina's Outer Banks Thursday Night and into Friday.
Hurricane conditions are expected within the warned areas overnight. The National Hurricane Center is projecting a 3-5 foot storm surge, up to 7" of rain and isolated tornadoes for the warned area.
Tropical Storm conditions may be felt from Surf City southward to South Santee River, South Carolina and from the Virginia border northward into the Chesapeake Bay-all locations under in Tropical Storm warnings.
Heavy rain should also fall along the I-95 corridor as the storm's tropical moisture interacts with a cold front.
The storm brought a rip current risk to East Coast beaches, with red flags flying along 500 miles of coastline.
The storm rained out July 4th fireworks displays scheduled along the Outer Banks. Boston, which is expected to be drenched by Arthur Friday, moved its Independence Day festivities to today instead.
Arthur is expected to encounter strong wind shear and an eastward moving cold front on Friday, becoming extratropical and then should rapidly weaken as it speeds out to sea over the weekend.
You can get forecasts from Meteorologist Josh Eachus weekdays on 2une-In from 5-7am and News 2 at Noon from 12-1pm. Additionally, you can get the fastest and latest forecasts and weather news by checking in with wbrz.com/weather, liking Josh on Facebook and following him on Twitter.