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As Tropical Storm Arthur steadily moved north along the East Coast Wednesday, gathering strength and nearing hurricane force, several warnings were in place across North Carolina and residents of one barrier island in the Outer Banks were ordered to evacuate. Arthur is expected to become a Category 1 hurricane by Thursday, according to The Weather Channel, and hit the coast the hardest late Thursday into Friday.

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Arthur has already registered maximum winds of 70 mph. Hurricane warnings covered four counties: Carteret, Onslow, Dare and Hyde. Dare County emergency officials ordered a mandatory evacuation of Hatteras Island in the Outer Banks scheduled to begin at 5 a.m. Thursday.

"Coastal areas will likely see periods of heavy rains and gusty winds Thursday and Friday," Pamela Walker of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety said in a statement. "Coastal flooding, dangerous rip currents, heavy surf, and moderate beach erosion are also expected."

Late Friday or early Saturday, Arthur is expected to make its closest approach to Massachusetts' Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket Island.



—Becky Bratu with The Associated Press