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STORM THREATENS NORTH CAROLINA’S OUTER BANKS … 

Tropical storm Arthur – the first named system of the 2014 season – is gaining strength as it moves up the east coast, prompting officials in North Carolina to take action in anticipation of a soggy, windy Fourth of July weekend.

In fact N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory has declared a state of emergency in twenty-five counties – activating the National Guard and preparing resources to respond to the storm.

“While we all want to enjoy a fun Fourth of July weekend with friends and family, our highest priority should be safety during the storm,” McCrory said in a statement. “I encourage all of our coastal residents and visitors to take necessary precautions, listen to local media and use good judgment throughout the duration of the storm.”

Currently 100 miles off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, Arthur is packing maximum sustained winds of sixty miles per hour (as of 2:00 p.m. EDT Wednesday afternoon).

“Arthur is expected to become a hurricane by Thursday,” the latest advisory from the National Weather Service (NWS) predicts.

Tropical storm watches have been issued for the coast of South Carolina, although current forecast models call for the storm to turn to the northeast in the coming days – bypassing the Palmetto coastline altogether.  In fact South Carolina is completely out of the official five-day forecast window from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA).

Take a look …

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And here’s the storms current forecast track …

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We’ll continue to keep track of Arthur as he makes his way up the coast …

(To read our previous coverage of Tropical Storm Arthur, CLICK HERE) .