Arthur strengthened to a hurricane early today, threatening to give North Carolina a glancing blow on Independence Day, prompting the governor to warn vacationers along the coast not to risk their safety by trying to salvage their picnics and barbecues. "Don't put your stupid hat on," warned Gov. Pat McCrory as the first named storm of the season prompted a hurricane warning for much of the North Carolina coast and a mandatory evacuation for visitors to the Outer Banks' Hatteras Island. In addition to the hurricane warning, tropical storm warnings are in effect for coastal areas in South Carolina and Virginia.
The National Hurricane Center predicts Arthur will swipe the coast early tomorrow with winds of up to 85mph. The storm will be off the coast of New England later in the day and will eventually make landfall in Canada's maritime provinces as a tropical storm, the center predicts. "Although the current forecast doesn't indicate this will be a major impact, we are taking it very seriously," says McCrory. "I don't want you to put at risk not only yourself but also people who may try to help you." He has signed executive orders declaring a state of emergency for 25 counties. (Read more hurricane stories.)