Tropical Storm Arthur continues to strengthen as it slowly moves up the East Coast toward the Carolinas.
At 5 a.m. Wednesday, Arthur had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph as it moved north at six miles per hour.
The storm is forecast to be a category 1 hurricane off the Outer Banks by early Friday morning.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami posted a hurricane watch for much of the Outer Banks of North Carolina and Pamlico Sound. Forecasters predicted Arthur would strengthen into a hurricane by Thursday, the first of the 2014 Atlantic season.
A tropical storm warning was issued mid-morning Wednesday for North Carolina from Little River Inlet to the Virginia border.
A tropical storm watch covered from south of Little River Inlet, N.C., to the South Santee River in South Carolina.
A hurricane watch is usually issued 48 hours before tropical storm force winds arrive in the watch area.
At 8 a.m. Wednesday, Arthur’s center was 100 miles east-northeast of Cape Canaveral in Florida and 275 miles south of Charleston, S.C. The storm was moving north at 6 mph, three times its speed 24 hour earlier.
Forecasters predicted 1 to 2 inches of rain with possible totals of 4 inches in some areas and warned of heavy surf and rip currents.
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