KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. (AP) – The center of Hurricane Arthur is moving near North Carolina’s coast early Friday after slashing into the state’s barrier islands just ahead of Independence Day, forcing thousands to flee and much of the East Coast to shuffle holiday celebrations.
Arthur strengthened to a Category 2 storm with winds of 100 mph Thursday evening before passing over the southern end of the Outer Banks – a 200-mile string of narrow barrier islands with about 57,000 permanent residents. The islands are susceptible to high winds, rough seas and road-clogging sands, prompting an exodus that began Wednesday night.
The storm turned slightly west late Thursday, increasing the threat to mainland communities.
After passing over North Carolina, Hurricane Arthur is expected to weaken as it travels northward and dump rain along the East Coast.
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