Hurricane Arthur makes landfall in North Carolina

arthurKILL DEVILS HILL, N.C. — Hurricane Arthur made landfall late Thursday near the southern end of North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Arthur hit land about 11:15 p.m. between Cape Lookout and Beaufort, North Carolina.

Arthur was a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph. The storm was located about 65 miles southwest of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. It was moving northeast at 18 mph.

Thousands of vacationers and residents had earlier fled parts of the state’s popular but flood-prone Outer Banks, and Fourth of July celebrations up and down the East Coast were postponed or faced the threat of cancellation.

In the Outer Banks, Nichole Specht, 27, and Ryan Witman, 28, left Hatteras Island at 3:30 a.m. Thursday, beating the expected traffic jam. The island was under an evacuation order, with no traffic allowed in. Officials asked an estimated 35,000 residents and travelers to leave through North Carolina Route 12, the only road on and off Hatteras.

Specht and Witman found the road wide open for their return home to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Specht said her parents left their rental later, at 5 a.m., and also found clear sailing.

“We were just saying we were really, really lucky this year that the weather was so great, and then this,” Specht said as she ended a two-week vacation that included scouting sites for the couple’s wedding next year. –