It had to be now, didn't it? According to the National Hurricane Center, a low-pressure system has built up off the coast of Florida, and Tuesday morning it reached the level of a tropical storm. Oh, and it's going to get worse — the storm is projected to build into a Category 1 hurricane which will hit North Carolina on the fourth of July, meaning your fireworks viewing party could get washed out in a hot second. Whether it ends up becoming a hurricane or not, those familiar storm-naming conventions are already in full swing — this one, as the first of the year, is tropical storm Arthur.
CNN reports that Arthur is projected to be just off the coast of North Carolina by Friday, and could disrupt festivities further up the Northeastern coast. At the moment, the storm system sits off the coast of Florida, and they're expected to feel the effects throughout Tuesday and Wednesday, with rainfall varying from one to three inches in different parts of the state, according to KION.
Given the unpredictable nature of the storm's route up the coast, different stops along the way are handling the news differently. In Florida, where the storm is supposed to pass in advance of the holiday, the fireworks plans are clearly still on. So much so, in fact, that the Florida Forest Service is still dispensing warnings about the ever-present risk of wildfires. In North Carolina, however, some adjustments have been made — Atlantic Beach, for example, has postponed their fourth of July fireworks celebration until the night of July 5, keen to avoid any stormy complications.
In New York City, authorities are hopeful that they'll suffer no ill effects by the time Friday night rolls around. The New York Daily News reports that the fireworks, set up to launch from the East River, could be dampened by any significant storm. They were told by Accuweather.com's Dan Kottlowski, however, that the skies are likely to clear up before the show, and give way to a brighter weekend.
Luckily for those of us living on the hurricane-free shores of the west coast, the Southwest, and across the Midwest, the traditional summer afternoons will likely roll on as usual. But if you're living in the path of this storm, and you're planning similar festivities, keep an eye on any scheduling announcements from your town or city — as the storm gets closer, authorities will have a better sense of how serious it will be, and will be able to adjust plans accordingly.
As it now stand, based on the National Hurricane Center's projections, Arthur will achieve hurricane status before reaching North Carolina's outer banks early Friday, at around 2 a.m. ET