Although Arthur has been upgraded to a hurricane and is now making its way to North Carolina, Sampson is likely to see only minimal impact, local emergency officials said.
Emergency Management Services director Ronald Bass had just left a National Weather Service conference call when contacted this morning, and noted that all indications were that Sampson would get some rain and gusty winds from the storm, which was upgraded to a hurricane earlier today.
“We could get 1 to 1 1/2 inches of rain out of this, sometime between 8 p.m. tonight and 8 a.m. in the morning (Friday), along with some gusty winds. But that’s pretty much it,” Bass said, noting that he would have another state conference call at 1 p.m. today.
“We will be updated at that time, but it doesn’t look like we are going to have much impact at all.”
Bass said current predictions had the storm grazing the Outer Banks, or just east of the Outer Banks, with Carteret County possibly experiencing hurricane-force winds.
“That’s the latest forecast track. At one time they mentioned Wilmington, but they aren’t talking about it coming in there anymore,” Bass said.
According to the Associated Press, forecasters expect Arthur to whip past the Outer Banks — a 200-mile string of narrow barrier islands with about 57,000 permanent residents — on Friday without making landfall but still bringing rain, heavy winds, storm surge and dangerous rip tides.
Before the storm hit, tourism officials had expected 250,000 people to travel to the Outer Banks for the holiday weekend. Gov. Pat McCrory warned people not to risk their safety by trying to salvage their picnics, barbecues and pre-paid beach cottage vacations.
The National Hurricane Center predicted Arthur would swipe the North Carolina coast early Friday with winds of up to 85 mph and then be off the coast of New England later in the day, eventually making landfall in Canada’s maritime provinces as a tropical storm.
On Thursday morning, the AP reported that Arthur was about 300 miles (480 kilometers) southwest of Cape Hatteras and moving north around 9 mph (15 kph) with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph (130 kph).