Carolina waterfront awaits strengthening tropical storm

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Tropical Storm Arthur is forecast to become a Category 1 hurricane Friday morning as it passes North Carolina’s Outer Banks, but some local marinas are less concerned about the storm than its impact on Fourth of July boating activities.

“This is nothing out of the ordinary for us,” said Jarrod Umphlett, owner of the Outer Banks Marina in Wanchese, N.C. The marina is located about six miles inland from the Oregon Inlet.

“We’re going to make sure the boats are secured, but we’re not calling for any marina evacuation,” said Jim Tobin, owner of Pirate's Cove Marina in Manteo, N.C. “They’re predicting 50- or 60-knot winds for us, but that’s pretty light for here.”

The marina owners said the biggest loss with be the biggest weekend of the year because offshore waters are expected to be too rough for safe boating.

Tropical Storm Arthur is off Florida’s east coast this morning and moving north near 6 mph. Maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph, with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Arthur is expected to become a hurricane by Thursday.

The National Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane watch for Bogue Inlet to the Oregon Inlet in North Carolina, as well as Pamlico Sound.

A tropical storm watch was issued for much of the coast from Florida’s Sebastian Inlet to the North Carolina’s eastern Albemarle Sound.

The National Hurricane Center is forecasting a north-northeast turn tonight, followed by a turn to the northeast with an increase in forward speed on Thursday, when the storm will move parallel to the South Carolina coast and approach the hurricane watch area.

NHC has posted projected wind speeds through the weekend for coastal towns along the East Coast.