BOSTON, July 3, 2014 – According to catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide, Arthur officially became a hurricane at about 5 a.m. EDT today…
when maximum sustained winds of 75 mph and central pressure of 985 mb were reported by Hurricane Hunter aircraft and NOAA Doppler radar. At that time the storm was located some 190 miles (305 km) southwest of Cape Fear, North Carolina, but the track of the storm has since begun to shift a little to the northeast and its forward speed has increased slightly.
According to the 11 a.m. EDT advisory from the National Hurricane Center (NHC), the storm was moving north-northeast at 14 mph (23 km/h) with maximum sustained winds of about 90 mph (145 km/h). A hurricane warning is now in effect for much of the coast of North Carolina, where the storm is expected to make landfall. The coast of southern North Carolina is already experiencing heavy rainfall.
“The center of the storm is currently expected to cross North Carolina’s Outer Banks between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. EDT on Friday, July 4,” said Dr. Tim Doggett, assistant vice president and senior principal scientist at AIR Worldwide. “The astronomical tidal forcing in this area is minimal at present and the maximum high tide levels are at their monthly low levels. This will help to reduce the impacts of storm surge.”
Arthur is expected to further increase its forward speed today and tomorrow. Currently, hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles (35 km) from the center of the system and tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles (150 km).
Dr. Doggett noted, “During the next few hours, we will learn to what extent and when the track of the storm system turns to the northeast. Deviations in timing and a few tens of degrees in direction could significantly alter the final track relative to the coastline, and hence the wind expectations. Should the storm travel slightly further west than the currently projected track, Arthur could have more significant impact to onshore properties than previously projected.”
The NHC has extended the storm system’s expected intensity further northward in today’s forecast, and now has Arthur maintaining hurricane strength as far north as Nova Scotia.
Dr. Doggett concluded, “As the upper level trough interaction increases over the next few days, the wind shear and other environmental conditions will become less favorable to Arthur’s development. Sea surface temperatures north of Cape Hatteras are not warm enough to support further development. In addition, an approaching front will disrupt the tropical characteristics over time. So any further intensification that occurs is likely to happen in the next 24 hours. While Arthur is still being impacted by dry air that is impeding its development somewhat, some strengthening is anticipated and it is forecast to be a Category 2 hurricane as it impacts North Carolina tomorrow.”
AIR continues to monitor the situation and will provide updates if warranted by events.