Hurricane Arthur from the International Space Station (Reid Wiseman via Twitter)
Hurricane Arthur from the International Space Station (Reid Wiseman via Twitter)

With peak winds of 100 mph and a storm surge of 3 to 5 feet, Hurricane Arthur blasted North Carolina’s Outer Banks overnight. The unusually strong early season hurricane is now accelerating to the Northeast, and its outer bands are likely to lash eastern New England later today and tonight.

Link: Hurricane Tracking Page 

The storm officially made landfall at 11:15 p.m. EDT Thursday between Cape Lookout and Beaufort, NC.

Here are radar and satellite animations and a close-up view of the eye moving directly over the Outer Banks:

You can view the tremendous force of the winds inside Arthur’s eyewall in this video from Buxton, NC: Winds gusts to around 100 mph in several locations along the Outer Banks, including a 101 mph gust measured at Cape Lookout.

Much of damage along the Outer Banks appears to be from storm surge flooding. A NOAA tide gauge at Oregon Inlet indicated over 3 feet of storm surge inundation. (See a large collection of pictures at the bottom of this post.)

News round-up from Associated Press: Arthur hits NC coast just before July 4 holiday

Arthur was the earliest hurricane on record to make landfall in North Carolina (in any given hurricane season) and the strongest hurricane to strike the U.S. since Ike in 2008.

The storm, positioned about 145 miles east-southeast of Ocean City, Md. at 11 a.m., weakened some this morning. Maximum sustained winds are down to 90 mph from a peak of 100 mph.

Conditions are rapidly improving from Virginia Beach southward and all hurricane warnings have been lifted in North Carolina.

Satellite view of Hurricane Arthur 10:15 a.m. EDT (NOAA)

To the north, some of its outer bands are whipping the Delmarva Peninsula and Jersey shore. Parts of southern Delaware (Sussex County) have experienced flash flooding.

Latest radar image, courtesy National Weather Service.

By this afternoon, rain bands will clear the Delmarva and Jersey shore. But even as the rain and wind subsides, high surf and rip currents pose a hazard for much of the Northeast coast today.

Late this afternoon and especially tonight, heavy rain and winds gusting to 40-50 mph are forecast in eastern New England – around Nantucket and Cape Cod, where tropical storm warnings are in effect. By Saturday morning, the entire U.S. East Coast should be in the clear.

Here’s a compilation of photos from the Outer Banks in the aftermath of Arthur:

Here’s a video round-up on the storm from Reuters:

The Category 2 storm moves offshore and heads up the East Coast after making landfall on North Carolina's Outer Banks. (Reuters)