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US storm Arthur to pack hurricane winds by July 4 holiday

Published on Jul 3, 2014 8:43 AM
Tourists stand underneath the Brooklyn Bridge to photograph a summer storm bearing down on New York on July 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WINSTON-SALEM (REUTERS) - Tropical Storm Arthur threatened to douse some July 4 holiday plans on the US East Coast as officials ordered evacuations of some low-lying coastal areas, closed beaches and tourist sites and delayed fireworks shows in anticipation of heavy rain and fierce winds.

The first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season was close to reaching hurricane strength, forecasters said on Wednesday, leaving some businesses worried about taking a financial hit.

Authorities began closing campgrounds, lighthouses and beaches at noon (1600 GMT) on Wednesday on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where up to 200,000 visitors crowd the Hatteras and Ocracoke islands.

A mandatory evacuation order for Hatteras Island forced some to change vacation plans.

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