Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include reporting from the Associated Press.
The heaviest rain and wind impacts from Tropical Storm Arthur have moved out of the Eastern North Carolina area but dangerous surf conditions will remain along the North Carolina coast throughout the day.
Red flags are flying at area beaches, a reminder of the high risk of rip currents and dangerous swimming condition in the ocean.
"The rip current risk will likely remain moderate to high for the next couple days," said Meteorologist Casey Dail with the National Weather Service forecast office in Newport.
A Tropical Storm warning remains in effect along the coastal areas of Onslow County and north through the Outer Banks.
A tropical storm warning was issued for parts of North Carolina's coast, from Surf City to Duck, including Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds, and heavy rainfall is expected for much of the eastern part of the state, said Michael Lee, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Newport.
"The main threat that we're really trying to get out there is that there is enhanced risk for dangerous rip currents both today and tomorrow. So, any folks who want to try to go to the beach and get in the water, we have a high risk out for most of our beaches," Lee said.
The Atlantic hurricane season doesn’t officially start until June 1 but that doesn’t means a tropical storm, or any other severe weather, can’t happen before then.
Arthur formed Saturday in waters off Florida, marking the sixth straight year that a named storm has developed before June 1. Tropical Storm Arthur is the first named storm of the year.
While there may be a component of warming waters and climate change in other pre-June storms, Arthur is more of a subtropical storm system than a traditional named storm and its water is cooler than what's usually needed for storm formation, said Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach.
A lot of these out-of-season storms are weak fleeting ones that meteorologists can see now because of satellites and better technology and would have been missed in earlier times, Klotzbach said.
Dail said the National Weather Service hasn’t put out its forecast for the 2020 hurricane season yet but regardless of predictions, area residents should always be ready for the next storm. The NOAA forecast is set for May 21.
"It just takes one storm," Dail said.
Dail said as of 10 a.m., winds were still gusting around 30-35 mph in the Onslow County area but a bulk of the rain had ended and remained scattered around Carteret County. Wind gusts of at least 40 mph (64 kph) were recorded in at least two places on the Outer Banks, the weather service said.
"The heaviest rains have passed," Dail said.
The heaviest rains were in the early morning hours around southern Craven and Carteret counties.
According to preliminary numbers from the NWS, Cape Carteret saw 5.44 inches; Havelock, 4.32 inches; Camp Lejeune, 3.47 inches; Swansboro, 3.12 inches; Jacksonville, 2.99 inches; and New Bern, 1.44 inches.
The Hurricane Center said Arthur was moving north-northeast at 16 mph (26 kph) Monday on a path expected to take its center away from the North Carolina coast, as it takes a more eastward path into Tuesday. As of 11 a.m. Monday, the storm's center was located about 20 miles (30 kilometers) east-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
Arthur had top sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kph).
Reporter Jannette Pippin can be reached at 910-382-2557 or Jannette.Pippin@JDNews.com. Associated Press writer Danica Coto in San Juan, Puerto Rico, contributed to this report.