Tropical Storm Arthur became the first hurricane of the 2014 Atlantic season on Thursday after sparking evacuations along part of the North Carolina coast, where it threatened to disrupt Independence Day celebrations.
Arthur was about 190 miles south-southwest of Cape Fear, North Carolina, with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said after upgrading its status.
It was moving at 9 miles per hour in a northerly direction toward the coast, the NHC said.
Authorities had on Wednesday begun closing campgrounds, lighthouses and beaches on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Several towns and villages rescheduled Independence Day festivities and fireworks plans as the storm picked up speed.
The resort town of Ocean City, Maryland, said it was moving its July 4 fireworks display to Saturday because of the storm.
A tropical storm becomes a hurricane when maximum sustained winds reach 74 mph.