The leading edge of the Atlantic hurricane season’s first named storm made its way over Bladen Count on Thursday morning at about the same time the National Weather Service upgraded Arther to a Category I hurricane.
Just in time for the numerous planned July 4 celebrations — including the annual fireworks at White Lake on Friday night — Arthur has been making its way up the East Coast from Florida for the past few days and was expected to arrive in force along the Carolinas by Thursday night.
However, depending on the path Arthur takes, Bladen County could see only the edge of the storm.
Bladen County Emergency Management Director Bradley Kinlaw said the forecast looks like the area can expect to receive about one-half inch of rain and slight winds. He added the biggest issue he is anticipating based on the information received Tuesday, is power outages.
“Folks that are oxygen dependant need to have a plan for that (power outages),” said Kinlaw.
Should Arthur stay off the coast of North Carolina, forecasters are predicting that Friday in Bladen County should be relatively clear, sunny and warm. The high is expected to by in the low 90s with minimal wind.
Just in case, however, Kinlaw said he and his staff will continue to monitor the storm and forecast projections, and if it is determined that emergency shelters need to open, the locations and times will be announced.
He added that residents should be sure to check emergency supplies like batteries, flashlights and generators to ensure they are in working order.
“We’re planning for the worst and hoping for the best,” said Kinlaw.
He added that if you decide to leave for any reason during the storm, let someone know where you will be going.
Currently, North Carolina’s Outer Banks appears to be Arthur’s main target. The storm has sustained winds of 75 mph and is expected to reach the Outer Banks sometime late Thursday, according to the Nation Hurricane Center. A voluntary evacuation was announced earlier this week for the Outer Banks’ Ocracoke Island, which is accessible only by ferry. The National Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane warning for all of Dare County.
The worst of the storm was expected to be at Cape Hatteras about dawn Friday, with 3 to 5 inches of rain and sustained winds up to 85 mph.
FEMA has deployed liaisons to the emergency operations centers in North Carolina and South Carolina along with an Incident Management Assistance Team to North Carolina to coordinate with local officials, should support be requested or needed. FEMA’s regional office in Atlanta is in contact with its emergency management partners in Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina, and activated its National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.
According to the National Weather Service, a tropical storm warning is in effect for the entire coast of North Carolina and there is a hurricane watch from Bogue Inlet to Oregon Inlet, North Carolina and the Pamlico Sound.
Visit www.hurricanes.gov and www.weather.gov for the latest storm track and local forecasts.