What You Need to Know About Hurricane Arthur, the July Fourth Party-Crasher

Hurricane Arthur is bearing down on North Carolina.

Arthur has reached hurricane status. NOAA

This story originally appeared in Slate and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

July 3, 12:30 pm: Hurricane Arthur is on track for an unwelcome tour of the East Coast this holiday weekend, already raining out fireworks celebrations and forcing beachgoers to flee for higher ground. First stop: North Carolina.

In its 11 a.m. update, the National Hurricane Center said Arthur’s sustained winds had strengthened to 90 mph—an upper-range Category 1 hurricane. The storm should strengthen further before landfall in the North Carolina Outer Banks later Thursday, and is now expected to reach mid-Category 2 status during its close approach there.

The storm is expected to hit hardest in North Carolina, where Gov. Pat McCrory has declared a state of emergency for coastal counties.

A mandatory evacuation of Hatteras Island in the vulnerable Outer Banks was underway on Thursday. With summertime tourism at its peak, and the forecast trending stronger and closer to the coast than earlier expectations, those remaining behind to ride out Arthur on North Carolina’s barrier islands may end up with a bit more storm than they bargained for.

Storm surge flooding is expected to reach five feet above ground level in some locations on the Outer Banks, creating the potential for road washouts. Wind gusts could top 100 mph during the early morning hours of July Fourth.

After its brush with North Carolina, Arthur will spend the rest of the Fourth of July traveling relatively quickly up the East Coast. Arthur’s passage should be at a safe enough distance to keep wind and flooding risk to a minimum, but close enough to create a wave of rain showers and dangerous beachfront currents. Arthur will make its closest approach to New England during the evening hours on Friday: perfect timing to make Independence Day there a washout.

As a result, Fourth of July fireworks will now take place a day early in Boston. Rain should clear out early enough on the Fourth for holiday celebrations in Washington, DC, to continue as planned. The weather will be a bit more borderline on Friday evening in New York City, but the current forecast should still allow for evening festivities. Arthur may also pose a serious threat to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland on Saturday as it transitions to a powerful extratropical cyclone.

This radar animation from Weather Underground shows Arthur’s progression over the last few days. Rain showers were already reaching the coast on Thursday morning:

Hurricane Arthur
More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate