Weather and Natural Disasters

Hurricane Arthur: Next target is New England, Maine coasts

Erik Oritz, Alexander Smith
Hurricane Arthur intensifies
Hurricane Arthur intensifies

A weakening Hurricane Arthur will take one last swipe at the East Coast as it churns past southeastern New England overnight Friday packing tropical storm-force gusts, forecasters say.

Power outages and minor beach erosion are possible as a downgraded Arthur is expected to drop 2 to 3 inches on Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Island in Massachusetts, while the Down East coast of Maine could see up to 6 inches of rain, The Weather Channel reported.

Parts of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in Canada are also under tropical storm warnings and watches into Saturday morning.

Arthur has deteriorated to a Category 1 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds around 90 mph, after lashing North Carolina on Thursday night. The first hurricane of the Atlantic season made landfall along the Outer Banks as a Category 2 before moving out Friday morning. It forced a mandatory evacuation along the southern end of the barrier islands, and has left behind a trail of power outages and flooded-out roads. In Hyde County and Ocracoke Island, officials reported downed trees and electrical poles.

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But with Arthur safely out of sight, tourists returned to their Fourth of July festivities at North Carolina's beaches: "The umbrellas are going up as we speak right now," Gov. Pat McCrory said. There were no immediate reports of serious storm-related injuries, although officials along the Northeast coastline have warned beachgoers about heavy surf and rip currents.

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New York, New Jersey and Delaware were not in the storm's path, but Lucksinger said it could react with another weather front and bring lashings more rain to that region.

Hurricane warning has been issued for North Carolina's outer banks due to Hurricane Arthur.
Mark Wilson | Getty Images

Even the areas not affected by the hurricane's strong winds and heavy rain may still be under rip current alerts, which have been issued all along the Eastern Seaboard, from Maine to Florida. Rip currents, which pull swimmers away from the shore, are responsible for 80 percent of surf rescues.

Arthur also put a damper on Fourth of July celebrations even before making landfall. Boston moved its holiday Pops concert to Thursday. Atlantic City, New Jersey, rescheduled its fireworks display for Sunday. Coastline cities in North Carolina, such as Surf City and Nags Head, either canceled or postponed their scheduled events.

Fireworks displays were also moved to the weekend in Ocean City, Maryland, and Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Virginia. Thursday night's Philadelphia concert was moved indoors, while Macy's annual fireworks display in New York City is scheduled to take place July 4 — rain or shine.

--By Erik Oritz and Alexander Smith, NBC News. Reuters contributed to this report.