Hurricane Arthur scythes through Outer Banks of North Carolina
The first hurricane of the Atlantic season has hit the North Carolina coast, a wet and windy spoiler of the July Fourth holiday for thousands of Americans as authorities ordered them to evacuate exposed areas.
Hurricane Arthur crossed the coast near Cape Lookout at the southern end of North Carolina's Outer Banks at 11:15 p.m. EDT on Thursday (0315 GMT Friday), with maximum sustained winds of 100 miles per hour (160 kph). This earned it Category 2 status on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity, the US National Hurricane Center said.
Arthur is the first hurricane to hit the United States since Superstorm Sandy devastated parts of New York and New Jersey in October 2012 and caused $70 billion in estimated damage.
As of early on Friday morning, Arthur was moving at about 23 mph (37 kph) as it headed oceanward about 20 miles east of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, said National Hurricane Center meteorologist Chris Landsea.
"It's pushing offshore from the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It did not stay over land very long and it did not traverse a lot of land," Landsea said, adding it lingered over Pamlico Sound for about six hours.
"It's expected to accelerate during the day as it passes southeast of New England," he said. It was expected to pass southeast of Cape Cod on Friday evening.
More than 20,000 customers were without power near North Carolina's coast as Arthur rushed through early on Friday morning, according to utility Duke Energy.
However, Arthur remained a medium-sized storm with hurricane-force winds extending outward only up to 40 miles (65 km) and lesser tropical storm-force winds 150 miles (240 km).