First Named Tropical Storm of Season Could Drench East Coast

MIAMI, Florida – It’s likely to be a very wet Fourth of July for North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

Tropical Storm Arthur has formed off eastern Florida, the National Hurricane Center said Tuesday, making it the first named storm of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season.

The center said the system could reach minimal hurricane strength by the time it hits the Outer Banks on Thursday night.

Earlier Tuesday the system was about 95 miles southeast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, and a tropical storm watch was in effect for the east coast of Florida from Fort Pierce to Flagler Beach.

CNN affiliate WWAY in Wilmington, North Carolina, is asking its readers to take a survey measuring how concerned they are about Arthur. Will it make them “batten down the hatches” or be just “another day at the beach”– or does it matter, “as long as it’s gone in time for fireworks”? There’s also an option for “don’t know/don’t care.”

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said the fact that the Outer Banks are hard to get on and off of may make the situation difficult for those who are planning to spend their July Fourth holiday there. The Outer Banks are low and rain could easily wash onto the roads, making them impassable even before the eye of the storm makes landfall, he said. All preparation for the storm should be done as soon as possible, he stressed.

After hitting the Carolinas, the system is likely to turn northeast, forecasters said, bringing showers to New York City and Boston. Washington will likely get wet, but it’s unclear just how torrential the downpour could be or how it might affect the July Fourth holiday, Myers said, predicting that winds won’t get fiercer than 20 to 25 mph in the nation’s capital.

Florida can expect heavy rain on Tuesday and Wednesday, with accumulations of 1 to 3 inches typical, and up to 5 inches in some areas.

The Bahamas could see up to 6 inches of rain.

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