A Tropical Storm is approaching the south-eastern United States, and experts warn it could cause "life-threatening surf" when it makes landfall. According to a report by AccuWeather, Tropical Storm Arthur formed on Saturday night off the coast of Florida, and is now approaching the coast of North Carolina. It is the first named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season.
Tropical Storm Arthur is on a collision course with eastern North Carolina, meteorologists say, and its impact could be severe. Technically, hurricane season begins on June 1, but this storm met all the criteria for a serious system, and preseason storms have become more common in the last ten years. The current models predict that Tropical Storm Arthur will make landfall late on Monday, bringing winds of 40 to 60 miles per hour or more and torrential rains, along with the storm surge.
Experts expect Arthur to land right on the Outer Banks on Monday night — the beloved vacation spot that just reopened to visitors on Saturday. Now, parts of North Carolina are under an official Tropical Storm Warning issued by the National Weather Service. The warning applies to Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head, Manteo, Wanchese, Hatteras Island, mainland Dare, mainland Hyde, Ocracoke Island, as well as Beaufort, coastal Onslow, Carteret, Pamlico, southern Craven, Tyrrell and Washington counties.
"It is very possible that Arthur could make landfall in the Outer Banks Monday morning. If the storm makes landfall, it is likely to occur near or just to the northeast of Cape Lookout," AccuWeather Meteorologist Alyson Hoegg warned.
Aside from the storm conditions themselves, experts warn that the storm surge could lead to beach erosion and minor coastal flooding. AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alan Reppert noted that some parts of South Carolina still have "flooding damage suffered from [Hurricane] Dorian" last summer, so "any storm that brings heavy rainfall and stronger wind gusts could bring additional damage to Ocracoke Island."
Experts are also warning that coastal areas as far north as Ocean City, New Jersey should be on the look-out for ripple effects from Arthur. However, after grazing North Carolina, the storm should move out to sea and dissipate away from land.
The response to the warnings of a tropical storm was dire on social media. Many people remarked on how their concern for public safety was already at its maximum because of the coronavirus, and a severe storm is not what the U.S. needs right now. For updates on Tropical Storm Arthur, check the National Hurricane Center website.