Arthur Weakening, Downgraded To Tropical Storm - 8NEWS - WRIC | News Where You Live

Arthur Weakening, Downgraded To Tropical Storm

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 MANTEO, N.C. (AP) -- Businesses on two of North Carolina's barrier islands hoped to salvage the rest of the holiday weekend after Arthur clipped the state without causing major damage before churning north toward Canada and losing strength early Saturday morning.

Arthur was downgraded to a tropical storm early Saturday as its winds weakened to 70 mph (110 kph). Arthur was moving at about 22 mph and located about 65 miles southwest of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

New England was largely spared from damage spawned by the story but some 4,000 people in Maine and another 1,000 in Vermont remained without power Saturday morning after high winds and heavy rains pounded the region. There were reports of localized flooding in coastal areas of Massachusetts and the Nova Star Ferry suspended service Friday and Saturday morning because of dangerous seas. No injuries or deaths have been reported.

A tropical storm warning was in effect for Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Island, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, from the U.S.-Canada border to Grand-Anse.

Meanwhile, in North Carolina, some homes and businesses were flooded, trees toppled and initially thousands were without electricity after Arthur raced through the Outer Banks on Friday, but no deaths or serious injuries were reported. Independence Day fireworks were postponed. About 20 feet of the fragile road connecting Hatteras Island with the rest of the world buckled and required repairs.

The hurricane's effects were mostly confined to Hatteras and Ocracoke islands, and some vacationers were already back on beaches to the north and south on Friday.

Gov. Pat McCrory expressed relief and started encouraging vacationers to return to the beaches, a message echoed by locals.

"This ain't no damage at all. Everybody will be able to come back probably," Lindell Fergeson of Manteo said after driving around to view the aftermath. "It just held up the Fourth (of July) for a little bit, but everything will be open again."

John Wilson was at work Friday sucking water off the floor of the flooded Manteo building he rents to an art gallery. He felt lucky that the building along the town's waterfront only took a foot of water.

"We'll be back in business in a day or two," Wilson said.

The storm that struck the state's southern coast late Thursday as a Category 2 hurricane quickly moved north Friday to cloud the skies over the Delaware and New Jersey shores. Rain from Hurricane Arthur disrupted some New York-area Independence Day celebrations but cleared in time for the nation's largest fireworks display in the East River between Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Tropical storm warnings were in effect for coastal areas as far north as Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and southeastern Canada. Forecasters predicted the storm would weaken before its center moved over western Nova Scotia in Canada early Saturday.

North Carolina officials worked to restore access to Hatteras Island on the island's only road. The state Transportation Department said it was aiming to restore traffic on North Carolina Highway 12 sometime Saturday, when many vacationers were due to start their weeklong cottage rentals.

Farther south, Ocracoke Island's electricity distribution system was badly damaged by Arthur, leading officials to order residents to quit using air conditioners and water heaters so that generator-supplied power could provide refrigeration and other necessities during a cycle of planned outages. A nightly curfew between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. was declared until power was fully restored. Vacationers were being coaxed to leave with the offer of free ferry rides out.

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Associated Press reporter Jerome Bailey Jr. contributed to this report.


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 KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina's popular beach towns began returning to the business of recreation Saturday, after Arthur lashed the state's coast with forceful winds and heavy rain and then churned northward without leaving a trail of significant damage.

Arthur was downgraded to a tropical storm early Saturday, but the storm's near-hurricane strength winds slammed into Canada's maritime provinces, causing 113,000 customers of Nova Scotia Power to lose electricity. The utility in New Brunswick reported 86,000 outages. The storm has caused flight cancellations and delays at the region's largest airport in Halifax.

New England was largely spared from damage spawned by the storm, but some 19,000 people in Maine and 1,600 in Vermont were without power after high winds and heavy rains pounded the region. There were reports of localized flooding in coastal areas of Massachusetts and the Nova Star Ferry suspended service Friday and Saturday morning because of dangerous seas. No injuries or deaths have been reported.

The hurricane's effects in North Carolina were mostly confined to Hatteras and Ocracoke islands, and some vacationers were already back on beaches to the north and south on Friday. But the ocean churned by Arthur remained dangerous Saturday with the risk of rip currents able to wash the strongest swimmer to sea. That didn't stop thousands of people from enjoying the sun and sand and leaving lifeguards to remind beach-goers of the danger.

"We're going to try to keep people out of the water and keep them safe," said David Elder, lifeguard supervisor for the town of Kill Devil Hills. "However, if conditions abate, I'd be glad to drop" the no-swimming warning. More than 600 of the 700 lifeguard rescues by Elder's department last year were required because of rip currents, he said.

The only road onto Hatteras Island was reopened to all traffic on Saturday afternoon, hours after permanent residents were first allowed to return. The island had been closed to visitors since early Thursday. With many weeklong cottage rentals running Saturday to Saturday, local businesses were hoping to salvage the second half of the holiday weekend.

A small section of fragile North Carolina Highway 12 buckled after being submerged by churning waters during the Category 2 hurricane. Officials also tested the two-mile-long Bonner Bridge onto the island to ensure it was safe for traffic. The road also suffered extensive flooding in some areas and officials warned drivers to watch for pockets of sand on the highway.

Farther south, Ocracoke Island's electricity distribution system was badly damaged by Arthur, leading officials to order residents to quit using air conditioners and water heaters so that generator-supplied power could provide refrigeration and other necessities during a cycle of planned outages. A nightly curfew between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. was declared until power was fully restored. Vacationers were being coaxed to leave with the offer of free ferry rides out.

Parts of Rodanthe and Salvo were flooded on Friday across nearly the entire width of Hatteras Island from the ocean to the sound. Trailers toppled in campgrounds where they were left, pictures from a Coast Guard helicopter that flew over the island showed.

Josh Fiscus was still cleaning up the mess at his Salvo home Saturday.

"We had about two feet of water here in my garage," he said.

Jackson Whitley, 14, was back to another day of picking up wind-blown debris and fallen tree limbs from around his family's Buxton home much as he did Friday. Apart from the lack of normal summertime crowds, he said streets were pretty much back to normal.

Linda Savage, 65, said she and a neighbor collected a small refrigerator and a trash can with lid intact left behind by flood waters about three feet deep. The flooding rose almost to the front door of her Salvo home without seeping inside, but Arthur's winds of almost 100 mph caused other damage.

"I lost a tremendous amount of shingles from my roof," Savage said.

She planned to shop for groceries Saturday, and hoped the cable television and Internet would be restored soon.



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