Almost-Category-2 Hurricane Arthur Is On Getting Stronger En Route To North Carolina

The Atlantic's first hurricane of the 2014 season has arrived, just in time for the Fourth. That hasn't deterred some revelers and residents from riding out the storm as Hurricane Arthur aims toward North Carolina's Outer Banks. Arthur has morphed from tropical storm to full-fledged hurricane, with winds recorded at 75 mph. The hurricane is expected to move to the Outer Banks, a stretch of islands off of the coast of North Carolina, sometime Thursday evening. By then, Arthur is expected to be a Category 2 hurricane.

The worst of the storm is likely to fall over Hatteras Island on Friday morning, bringing three to five inches of rain and winds up to 85 mph. Officials ordered a mandatory evacuation of Hatteras starting this morning due to the island's susceptibility to storm damage. From 5 a.m. this morning, no incoming traffic was allowed onto the island.

There was also a voluntary evacuation announced yesterday afternoon for the Outer Bank's Ocracoke Island, which is only accessible by ferry. The N.C. Department of Transportation's Ferry Division started round-the-clock ferry service to Hatteras Island yesterday, free of charge (we should say so!). Only problem is that when you get to Hatteras, your voluntary evacuation turns into a mandatory one.

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But despite Arthur's imminence, multiple news outlets are reporting that residents and visitors are planning on riding out the storm. "I've been through Irene. I went through Isabelle. I'm not even worried about this one," Bill Motley, a 13-year Outer Banks resident, told USA Today. "I'm more worried about my tomato plants. With the wind coming, if we get a 50-mph gust, it will knock over my tomato plants."

Nancy Janitz, 60, of Jacksonville, used technology to prepare for ol' Artie's arrival. ‘‘I have my NOAA radio, and I keep tabs on Twitter and Facebook for updates,’’ she said to the Associated Press. ‘‘I’m as prepared as I can possibly be.’’

Even some Outer Banks vacationers seem to be taking their chances with the storm. "We've been coming down here for 20 years," Jim Stafford of Greenville, Pennsylvania said to CNN. "We'll just see what happens."

But if you decide to stick around, forecasters are vocal about strong rip tides and 12 to 18 foot waves crashing into the Cape Hatteras.

As for any official words of advice from North Carolina's dear Gov. Pat McCrory, he's got a real gem for you reckless surfers and swimmers:"Don't put your stupid hat on."