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Ahead of July 4th, East Coast eyes tropical storm



Published: Wed, July 2, 2014 @ 3:18 p.m.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Along much of the East Coast, hotel owners, tourism officials and would-be vacationers kept a watchful eye on forecasts today as Tropical Storm Arthur churned off Florida, threatening Fourth of July plans for thousands of people.

A tropical storm warning was issued for the North Carolina coast as the first named storm of the season was expected to strengthen to a hurricane and skim the Outer Banks, a 200-mile string of narrow barrier islands prone to flooding but popular for beachgoers, as a Category 1 hurricane Friday.

But plenty of people planned to continue their trips or ride out the storm. Nancy Janitz, 60, of Jacksonville, S.C., was watching Arthur's progress closely.

"I have my NOAA radio, and I keep tabs on Twitter and Facebook for updates," she said. "I'm as prepared as I can possibly be."

Lee Nettles, executive director the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, emphasized reports that show the storm should move fast, and he said the area sees frequent storms — often more severe. "We want everybody to be safe and prepared, but we are not overly concerned at this point," he said.

With four fireworks celebrations planned, some may be delayed, but Nettles said there may be a bright side: "Hey, we may be the area that celebrates the Fourth the longest."


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