Hurricane Arthur has churned up a promise of rain Thursday, mild wind gusts Friday and a rough surf for Delaware's weekend, but little more than that – despite a potentially bruising scrape with coastal North Carolina.
A National Hurricane Center forecast updated at 5 a.m. Thursday showed the storm's likely center passing about 160 miles southeast of Fenwick Island as a medium Category 1 storm, with 85 mph winds.
The center earlier had extended a tropical storm warning as far north as Cape Charles, Virginia, on the southern tip of the Delmarva Peninsula, and early Thursday, after Arthur reached hurricane strength, that was extended to include the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. A hurricane warning was extended to the North Carolina/Virginia border.
State College, Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather said the heaviest rains would fall across the area ahead of the storm on Thursday, with about 1.3 inches for the 24-hour period in Sussex and Kent counties and about 1.2 inches in New Castle County – most falling late in the day or overnight.
Although Delaware resort-area businesses reported healthy crowds in the windup to the holiday, some hotels said they still have a few rooms open, a possible sign of hedging by vacationers wary of the storm.
On Wednesday, Ocean City, Maryland, rescheduled its fireworks celebration to Saturday, declaring on its blog that "It's better to be safe than sorry" and noting that wet weather would make a timely setup for launching "nearly impossible."
Rehoboth Beach Main Street Executive Director Krys Johnson said her organization plans to meet early Thursday afternoon to assess weather outlooks and confer with the Department of Transportation and other agencies before deciding on Friday's show.
"We just need to make the weather call first," Johnson said Wednesday night. Rehoboth also has a Saturday rain date if needed.
Heavy rains were expected Thursday and Friday across the Carolinas, with the Outer Banks now well inside the area that could experience hurricane-force winds late Thursday or early Friday.