The National Hurricane Center now says it expects Hurricane Arthur to intensify into a Category 2 storm as it gets closer to North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
Meanwhile, the has moved past the Grand Strand region of South Carolina. The National Weather Service (NWS) reports Arthur’s eye was located about 35 miles south of Cape Fear, North Carolina around 5:00 pm Thursday. The storm is moving northeast at about 13 miles per hour, with maximum winds around 90 mph, according to NWS forecasters.
While the worst of the hurricane is expected to stay out to sea, the conditions are currently considered unsafe for swimming in South Carolina from Beaufort to the North Carolina border. Myrtle Beach currently has red “No Swimming” flags at all of its public beaches, although surfers are still taking advantage of the unusually large waves. Safety officials are warning of the strong potential for rip currents and storm surges.
Horry County emergency planner Alicia Sanders said she is not aware of any rescue calls as of noon Thursday.
“The good thing is that it is rough weather out right now as far as rain and wind, so there’s not as many people out in on the beaches except for surfers,” she said. Sanders said she’s also not aware of any flooding reports, as forecasters are predicting no more than two inches of rain Thursday.
The National Weather Service still has a Tropical Storm Warning in effect for the South Carolina coast between Georgetown and the NC border. Forecasters are also warning of possible storm surge in the area, but its impact is expected to be minor.
Most of the concern is on the Outer Banks area of North Carolina. A mandatory evacuation of Hatteras Island was ordered Wednesday. Most forecast models call for Arthur to hit the barrier islands, before curling back out to deep sea on Friday.