TIME weather

Hurricane Arthur Threatens July 4 Weekend for Many

Hurricane Arthur 4th of July
Kyler Cook, 18, walks through the storm surge of Hurricane Arthur in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., on July 3, 2014. Randall Hill—Reuters

“Don’t put your stupid hat on,” North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory said at a press conference after declaring a state of emergency

Updated 11:34 p.m. E.T. Thursday.

Hurricane Arthur has finally made landfall near the southern end of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Arthur reached land around 11:15 p.m. on Thursday between Cape Lookout and Beaufort, N.C.

Arthur was a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h) and was located about 65 miles (105 km) southwest of Cape Hatteras, N.C., the Associated Press reported. It is moving northeast at 18 m.p.h. (30 km/h).

Fourth of July plans came to a screeching halt for many across the U.S. on Thursday, as the effects of a Category 1 hurricane began to work their way up the East Coast, causing flight delays and cancellations, and evacuations in some critical areas.

The scene at Reagan Washington National Airport on Thursday afternoon was chaos as Hurricane Arthur continued to gather strength off the coast of North Carolina. Passengers on flights scheduled to leave mid-afternoon were still waiting at 8:30 p.m.

One such passenger was David Luterman, who did his best to ignore the turmoil around him, reading a magazine in front of Gate 2 in Reagan National’s Terminal A, waiting to take off on what should have been a 3:40 p.m. Jet Blue flight to Boston. “Ladies and gentlemen, we apologize,” a Jet Blue employee announced over the loudspeaker around 5:45 p.m. “We’re just waiting for the lightning to clear for the ramp to open so we can land, disembark and clean the plane to continue on to Boston. We hope to have you on your way as soon as possible.”

Three hours later, that flight still hadn’t boarded.

Luterman had hoped make it back to his Boston-area home to spend the holiday weekend with his family. “I really want to get home,” he said.

Washington remained under a severe-storm warming until 9 p.m. Thursday. Tropical-storm warnings were also issued Thursday afternoon for Nantucket Island and parts of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, AP reported, though the full brunt of the storm itself likely won’t reach that far north until late Friday.

At the next gate over, a woman who only wanted to be known as H.R. clutched in one hand the remnants of a three-hour-old salad, her son’s tickets, passport and her iPhone in another. She was trying to get her 13-year-old son to Toronto where his five cousins were eagerly awaiting his two-week visit. That flight and one to Montreal were canceled.

“I booked a flight to Thailand for myself months ago,” H.R. said. “I leave tomorrow but if I can’t get him out,” she said, poking her lanky son who towered over her, “I can’t go. The other airline isn’t going to be sympathetic about Air Canada’s cancellations.”

Every gate in the terminal had people stacked in line, haggling with gate agents over tickets and delays. The walls were lined with would-be passengers as empty seats were not to be found. “It’s going to be a long night,” said John Henry, whose flight to Miami for a bachelor party was already two hours delayed. He and his buddies had already downed a few beers at the airport bar. “But I feel like I went straight to hangover. This is un-fun.”

Arthur’s current estimated trajectory has it grazing North Carolina’s northern seashore by Friday morning, prompting officials to order a mandatory evacuation of Hatteras Island — one of the many barrier islands making up the Outer Banks, where a quarter of a million people were projected to converge for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, according to the Associated Press. “Don’t put your stupid hat on,” North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory said at a press conference Thursday, after declaring a state of emergency in 25 coastal counties, urging swimmers and surfers to avoid the ocean in light of the impending storm. “Our major goal is to ensure that no lives are lost during this upcoming storm,” McCrory said.

Here’s the latest storm track, via the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:


Hurricane Arthur is forecasted to weaken by Friday night and become a post-tropical cyclone by Saturday.


TIME weather

WATCH: Lightning Strike in NYC Caught on Video

You may not be able to capture lightning in a bottle, but you can certainly post it on YouTube

TIME weather

East Coast Braces for Damage Amid Hurricane Warning

Weather system Arthur travels up the east coast of the United States in the Atlantic Ocean pictured on July 2, 2014.
Weather system Arthur travels up the East Coast of the U.S. on July 2, 2014 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Getty Images

The first named storm of the hurricane season is looming over the East Coast

Correction appended, July 2, 2014

A mandatory evacuation was ordered on Hatteras Island off the North Carolina coast as Tropical Storm Arthur approached and threatened to drench much of the Eastern Seaboard.

The evacuation order, which applies to out-of-town visitors arriving for the Fourth of July weekend and residents alike, will begin at 5 a.m. on Thursday. A state of emergency was declared in the rest of Dare County and 24 other counties along the coast.

Tropical Storm Arthur, which is expected to become a hurricane by Thursday, was about 220 miles south of Charleston in the early evening on Wednesday and heading north parallel to the southeastern U.S. coast. The current forecast indicates that the storm, the first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, won’t make landfall in the U.S. and will weaken by early Saturday.

But with sustained winds of 60 m.p.h. and heavy rainfall, it has prompted hurricane warnings across the East Coast. The Boston Pops’ traditional July 4 concert and fireworks display was pushed from Friday to Thursday because of the severe weather threat. Coastal flooding is possible from Virginia to Cape Cod, according to AccuWeather.

The storm is expected to hit North Carolina’s Outer Banks hardest, where about 250,000 people were projected to converge for the long holiday weekend, according to the Associated Press. Twice in the past few years, storms have flooded North Carolina Route 12, the main road along the islands, making it impassable.

On Wednesday, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory told residents, “Don’t put your stupid hat on,” urging potential swimmers and surfers to stay away from the water amid concerns of rip tides. “Our major goal is to ensure that no lives are lost during this upcoming storm,” he said at a news conference, according to the Associated Press.

Correction: The previous version of this article misstated that Hatteras Island is located off the South Carolina coast. It is located off the North Carolina coast.

Correction: The previous version of this article misstated that Route 12 is in South Carolina. It is in North Carolina.

TIME weather

Here’s What Tropical Storm Arthur Looks Like From Space

Weather system Arthur travels up the east coast of the United States in the Atlantic Ocean seen from the GOES-Wast satellite on July 2, 2014.
Weather system Arthur travels up the east coast of the United States in the Atlantic Ocean seen from the GOES-Wast satellite on July 2, 2014. NOAA/Getty Images

Get a sneak peek at America's birthday surprise

Forecasters predict that Tropical Storm Arthur will make landfall in the United States on the evening before Independence Day, starting in North Carolina and climbing north along the eastern seaboard. Satellites captured this image of the storm off the Florida coast, brewing up a potentially nasty surprise for the nation’s birthday.

TIME weather

First Hurricane of the Season Could Ruin Your 4th of July Plans

Happy Birthday, America

Well here’s a birthday present America can do without. A tropical depression that formed off the coast of Florida Monday night could become the season’s very first hurricane … and it could move north along the East Coast just in time for the 4th of July, raining on literal parades in its wake.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the depression is expected to become a tropical storm — named Arthur —Tuesday. AccuWeather predicts that the conditions will be at its worst on Thursday into Friday around Delmarva and New Jersey. Independence Day hotspots Long Island and Cape Cod will experience the most bad weather during the day Friday and into the evening.

“The system, which is forecast to attain tropical storm status and could become a hurricane, will hug the coast and could even make landfall in North Carolina before turning out to the Northeast late in the week,” AccuWeather’s Dan Kottlowski said.

Although if the storm does move northeast as predicted, firework conditions could improve from Washington D.C. to Philadelphia and New York City.

This has been a week of bad weather. Severe storms swept across the Midwest to the Great lakes Monday, resulting in strong winds, reported tornadoes, heavy rain, several injuries, and two deaths.


TIME Environment

Watch: NASA Says U.S. Air Pollution Has Plummeted

The air we breathe is a bit better, new images show

Striking new images released by NASA this week show significant reductions in air pollution levels across the United States. In particular, at least one pollutant, nitrogen dioxide, has decreased substantially over the past decade.

After ten years in orbit, the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA’s Aura satellite showed that the decrease is particularly prominent in the Northeast, the Ohio River Valley, and other major cities. For example, NASA reported a 32% decrease in New York City and a 42% decrease in Atlanta between the periods of 2005-2007 and 2009-2011.

Air pollution decreased even though population and the number of cars on the roads have increased, and the shift can be explained as a result of better regulations, technological improvements and economic shifts, scientists said.

“While our air quality has certainly improved over the last few decades, there is still work to do – ozone and particulate matter are still problems,” said Bryan Duncan, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.



TIME weather

Prepare for El Niño, UN Weather Agency Warns

United Nations weather agency tells governments to brace for the weather event, and the devastating droughts and floods it brings

There’s a real risk that weather event El Niño will occur before the year’s end, the U.N.’s weather agency has said.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) issued a statement saying there’s a 60% chance of El Niño occurring between June and August. This likelihood increases to 75-80% from October to December.

Many governments have already begun preparing for El Niño’s arrival, which can be devastating. The event starts as a body of warm water developing in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean. The water then flows towards the western coast of South America setting off a chain of weather events globally.

El Niño can result in droughts or floods in particular regions and usually has the overall effect of raising global temperatures, on top of man-made global warming. WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud commented: “We remain vulnerable to this force of nature but we can protect ourselves by being better prepared.”

Many governments are believed to have begun planning for El Niño. India is expected to experience weaker monsoons whilst Australia may suffer terrible droughts. South America, by contrast, usually falls victim to widespread floods.

Experts believe that the Pacific, which has already warmed to weak El Niño levels, will continue to increase in temperature over the coming months, peaking during the last quarter of 2014 and dissipating after the first few months of 2015.

TIME World Cup

Spanish World Cup Team’s Plane Struck by Bolt of Lightning

As if the defeated champions' World Cup wasn't bad enough already

The Spanish soccer team had an unfortunate end to an unfortunate World Cup.

On the flight home from an early — and embarrassing — elimination Tuesday, the team’s plane was struck by lightning when it was about to touch down in Madrid. According to Iberia airlines, no one was injured and the aircraft went unharmed.

No word on if the players’ hair was impacted.Australia v Spain: Group B - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

Santi Cazorla of Spain looks on during the National Anthem prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group B match between Australia and Spain Jeff Gross—Getty Images


TIME weather

It Was Officially The Hottest May Ever

The Sun Goes Down Over South London
A family of seagulls are silhouetted on the rooftops of Peckham as the sun goes down Mary Turner—Getty Images

The polar vortex seems like a long time ago now

This year has been one of weather anomalies. Not only did the the polar vortex provide for some cities’ coldest winters in a decade, but according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this May was the world’s hottest on record.

The combined average temperature of global land and ocean surfaces was 58.6°F. While that might not seem too hot, the dry temperature had repercussions in the United States at least. The NOAA reports 37.5% of the United States was in drought. Not only did the conditions deteriorate across Kansas and Oklahoma, but the dry conditions in the Southern Plans and the West helped fuel various wildfires.

Here’s a map of noteworthy May climate anomalies around the world:



TIME States

Georgia Toddler Dies in Hot Car

The father of the 22-month-old was supposed to take him to day care on Wednesday, but went straight to work instead, leaving the child strapped in the hot car

An Atlanta-area toddler died Wednesday after being left in a car for hours, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The death comes amid a statewide campaign led by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal to prevent child deaths in hot cars over the blazing summers.

The body was found Wednesday afternoon after the child’s father realized the 22-month-old had been strapped in a car seat all day. The dad was supposed to take the child to day care on Wednesday morning, but went directly to work instead. The high in Cobb County, the suburb where the child died, was 100 degrees.

The father stopped at a shopping-center parking lot to seek help, but the child did not survive. Authorities are reportedly questioning the father.

In late May, Deal launched the “Look Again” campaign, a partnership with early-education officials to warn adults that in “minutes the inside of your car can become a death trap for a child.”

[Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

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