Hurricane to hit as US celebrates 4th of July
Storm Arthur has strengthened to a hurricane and threatens to upend Americans' plans for Independence Day today up and down the East Coast.
North Carolina braced itself for a glancing blow ahead of the holiday, prompting the governor of the southern state to warn holidaymakers along its coast not to risk their safety by trying to salvage their picnics and barbecues.
Governor Pat McCrory told holidaymakers to take caution and urged them not to "put your stupid hat on".
It's predicted Arthur will swipe the coast today with winds of up to 136kmh. The storm would be off the coast of New England later and eventually make landfall in Canada's maritime provinces.
In Boston, one of America's signature Fourth of July events, the annual Boston Pops outdoor concert and fireworks show, was moved up a day.
Arthur, the first named storm of the Atlantic season, prompted a hurricane warning for much of the North Carolina coast.
Tropical storm warnings were in effect for coastal areas in South Carolina and Virginia.
On the Outer Banks' Ocracoke Island in North Carolina, accessible only by ferry, a voluntary evacuation was underway. A mandatory evacuation for Hatteras Island visitors has already begun.
Outer Banks residents and visitors who fail to evacuate ahead of the hurricane's expected arrival should prepare for possibly getting stuck for several days without food, water or power, the National Hurricane Centre has warned.