WILMINGTON — It’s official. The first tropical storm of the season has formed off the coast of Florida, but experts don’t expect it to put too much of a damper on holiday plans for those living in Robeson County.
The storm, which is now being called tropical storm Arthur, was officially declared a tropical storm at 11 a.m. on Tuesday and is projected to make contact with North Carolina’s coast on Thursday evening or Friday.
According to meteorologists with the the National Weather Service in Wilmington, the storm’s greatest impact will be felt along North Carolina’s outer banks. Robeson County will receive scattered showers on Thursday and Friday, with less than an inch of rain.
“You guys are pretty far inland and because the storm is pretty small, we don’t think you’ll see a whole lot of rain or wind,” said meteorologist Josh Weiss. “It won’t even be as bad as some of the thunderstorms on your typical summer day.”
Weiss is not advising that anyone cancel their Fourth of July plans, but he says those who plan to go to the beach Wednesday morning through Friday morning should use extreme caution when going into the water due to increased tides.
Still, Weiss believes that the rain will have mostly died down by late Friday evening, which is good news for those hoping to catch a fireworks show.
Besides rain, the National Weather Service is forecasting Thursday will have a high of 90 degrees and a low of 73 degrees, with a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms. On Friday, the forecast calls for highs of 88 degrees and lows of 73 degrees, with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms.
A tropical storm is defined as an intense, localized low-pressure wind system that forms over tropical oceans and is coupled with hurricane force winds. In order to be defined as a tropical storm, it must have winds that sustain a speed between 39 to 73 mph.