MIAMI, July 1 (UPI) -- A tropical depression off Florida's east coast officially became Tropical Storm Arthur early Tuesday, the first named storm of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season.
The National Hurricane Center predicted Arthur will move up the East Coast, hitting the Outer Banks of North Carolina early Friday, just as the three-day July 4th weekend begins. Forecasters say it will turn northeast, bringing heavy rains to major cities like Philadelphia, New York and Boston later in the weekend.
At 11 a.m. EDT, Arthur's center was 95 miles southeast of Cape Canaveral in Florida and 80 miles northwest of Freeport in the Bahamas. The storm was moving northwest at a leisurely 2 mph.
A tropical storm warning was posted for the east coast of Florida from Fort Pierce to Flagler Beach.The maximum sustained winds were 40 mph with tropical storm winds extending 45 mph from the center.
Forecasters predicated Arthur will grow stronger as it heads north. The storm could bring heavy rain to eastern Florida.
There is more uncertainty about the storm's later movements. The center's five-day cone suggested Arthur's track could take it right along the East Coast or miles out to sea.