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article imageHurricane Arthur's early 2014 hurricane season opener

By Robert Myles     Jul 4, 2014 in World
Ocracoke - Hurricane Arthur kicked off the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season along the United States’ eastern seaboard, Thursday night, making landfall as far north as North Carolina.
According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Hurricane Arthur hit the coast at 11.15 p.m. local time between Cape Lookout and Beaufort. Just before 2014’s Atlantic hurricane debutant struck the North Carolina coast, it strengthened from category 1 to category 2 on the 5-point Saffir-Simpson scale of wind strength.
Category 2 hurricanes involve wind-speeds of between 154 and 177 kilometers per hour (96-110 mph) with winds described as “extremely dangerous” and capable of causing extensive damage.
NHC meteorologists warned of isolated tornadoes associated with Hurricane Arthur and a storm surge of up to 1.5 meters (about 5 feet) in some coastal areas.
Heavy rainfall was predicted, not just for North Carolina, but for areas further north including eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Rainfall accumulations of between 10 and 15 centimeters (4-6 inches) were forecast with some isolated areas receiving rainfall maxima of up to 20 centimeters (about 8 inches).
Tropical storm warnings were also issued, Thursday, for Cape Cod and Nantucket, as well as parts of eastern Canada, including New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the islands of Cape Breton and Prince Edward, reports Reuters. The eye of Hurricane Arthur is predicted to track north-eastwards along the US coastline, today, Friday.
According to The State, coastal communities all along the North Carolina coastline were under a hurricane warning, Thursday, and for the early part of today, Friday. Ocracoke Island, Aurora, Pamlico Beach and Belhaven were all subject to voluntary evacuation orders while authorities ordered mandatory evacuations of some areas including Hatteras Island.
To assist with evacuation, Transportation Secretary of State, Tony Tata, said additional ferries had been pressed into service to help move people off Ocracoke Island.
The island, along with the rest of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, a thin sliver of land forming North Carolina’s outrider in the Atlantic, looked set to suffer Hurricane Arthur’s full force, just as the 2014 holiday season was getting underway.
Nearly half a million visitors would normally be expected on the beaches of the Carolinas over the Independence Day long weekend.
Although the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) reckons the hurricane season runs from June 1 through to November 30, hurricanes, Arthur being the first of 2014, are rarely seen so early in the season.
For the 2014 hurricane season, the NOAA predicts it will be "near or below average," with eight to 13 tropical storms, of which three to six could intensify sufficiently to be classed as hurricanes.
But hurricane prediction site, France-based Keraunos, which also specializes in monitoring thunderstorms, tornadoes and extreme weather events, said Hurricane Arthur is the earliest in the Atlantic basin since Hurricane Alex in 2010. Keraunos notes that 1995 was another year when an early season hurricane struck. Ominously for 2014, Keraunos records that both 2010 and 1995 were both marked by cyclonic activity among the most intense of the preceding 200 years.
More about Hurricane, Hurricane season, early hurricane, Tropical storms, Atlantic hurricanes
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