Tropical Storm Arthur Closes In on North Carolina Coast

© Lynne Sladky, AP
The Miami skyline is shrouded in clouds as a cyclist rides along Biscayne Bay on May 15, 2020. Tropical Storm Arthur formed off the Florida coast over the weekend.

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is two weeks away, but that hasn’t stopped an early-bird system from menacing the North Carolina coast Sunday.

Tropical Storm Arthur, which formed off Florida on Saturday, was expected to strengthen and whip the Outer Banks with rain and gusty winds overnight into Monday, the National Weather Service said. Eastern portions of the state should brace for localized flooding and hazardous marine conditions, forecasters said.

A tropical storm warning – meaning 40 mph or greater winds were expected somewhere in the warning area within the next 24 hours – was issued for portions of the Outer Banks from Surf City to Duck, including Pamlico and Albemarle sounds, according to the National Hurricane Center.

“Minor inundation from storm surge is possible for very low-lying areas adjacent to the ocean, sounds, and rivers, with overwash of dunes and flooding of properties and roadways possible for locations where dune structures are weak,” mainly north of Cape Lookout, the National Weather Service said.

Arthur was centered about 260 miles south-southwest of Cape Hatteras and was moving at 9 mph to the north-northeast Sunday evening with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph, the hurricane center said.

“There is a still the possibility that Arthur makes landfall where the barrier islands jut out near Cape Hatteras,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Renee Duff said.

Arthur’s preseason appearance isn’t that unusual, making 2020 the sixth consecutive year with a named storm in May, which is before the season’s official start date of June 1.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Susan Miller