Mother Nature may very well have some fireworks of her own planned for the Fourth of July.
The National Hurricane Center predicts a tropical system to develop into a hurricane and be off the coast of North Carolina by late Thursday and early Friday.
Tropical Storm Arthur formed Tuesday morning off the Florida coast and forecasters are beginning to narrow in on the strength and projected path of the storm. The exact track remains somewhat uncertain, but weather forecasters expect the storm to be close enough to land to bring an increased chance of rain Thursday and Friday with gusty winds, possibly to tropical storm strength between 39 mph and 74 mph.
As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, no watches or warnings had been issued for the area.
Arthur is expected to develop into a hurricane by Thursday and then quickly move north to northeast, bringing it close to the Cape Fear region, Cape Lookout and potentially across the Outer Banks by early Friday morning. Currently, the storm's center is expected to stay off the coast, but any shift slightly to the west could bring the storm on shore, but any shift east could lessen the impacts for Eastern North Carolina.
Forecasters are telling residents and visitors who may be planning trips to the coast for the holiday weekend to pay attention to the weather forecasts and advisories issued through the hurricane center, National Weather Service and local emergency management authorities.
Should the storm follow its current predicted path, it is expected to exit far off the coast late Friday. Currently, the weather service expects mostly sunny skies for Saturday and Sunday with high temperatures in the middle to upper 80s.