UPDATE: 7/2 11:16pm
Arthur is barely hanging on to Tropical Storm status.
As of 11p, it's packing 70 mile-per-hour winds and Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate its central pressure is falling.
However, it's having a tough time maintaining a closed eyewall.
The Tropical Storm is now moving north at 8 miles-per-hour but is expected to curve northeastward in the next 24 to 36 hours and speed up.
Forecasters are predicting Arthur's core will get close to the coasts of South and North Carolina Thursday and Thursday night.
That has emergency officials ordering mandatory evacuations beginning at 5a for Hatteras Island.
UPDATE 7/2 5:23pm
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) _ Forecasters have issued a hurricane warning for a large swath of the North Carolina coast as Tropical Storm Arthur moves northward.
The warning was issued Wednesday for Surf City north to Duck. The warning includes the Pamlico and Eastern Albemarle sounds.
The first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season has prompted officials, hotel owners and would-be vacationers as far north as New England to carefully watch forecasts.
On Wednesday afternoon, Arthur was moving north at about 7 mph (11 kph). It was centered about 435 miles (700 kilometers) south-southwest of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
Arthur had nearly reached hurricane strength, with maximum sustained winds around 70 mph (113 kph). A storm is considered a hurricane when those winds measure at least 74 mph (119 kph).
UPDATE 7/2 11:00am
The National Hurricane Center has issued a tropical storm warning for parts of North Carolina as Arthur moves north off Florida's coast, threatening Fourth of July plans for thousands of people.
The warning issued Wednesday stretches from Little River Inlet to the North Carolina-Virginia border. The warning means tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere in that area within 36 hours.
Arthur is about 105 miles (165 kilometers) east-northeast of Cape Canaveral and about 260 miles (420 kilometers) south-southeast of Charleston, South Carolina. It is moving north about 7 mph (11 kph) with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph).
A tropical storm watch for Florida has been discontinued.
Forecasters expect Arthur to strengthen into a hurricane by Thursday and skim North Carolina's popular, flood-prone Outer Banks on Friday.
UPDATE: 7/2 5:20AM
A hurricane watch has been issued for part of North Carolina's coast as Tropical Storm Arthur moves northward, threatening Fourth of July plans along the East Coast.
The hurricane watch in North Carolina covers an area from Bogue Inlet to Oregon Inlet, including Pamlico Sound. A tropical storm watch is in effect for parts of Florida and South Carolina.
The storm's maximum sustained winds early Wednesday are near 60 mph (95 kph). The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Arthur is expected to strengthen and become a hurricane by Thursday.
Arthur is centered about 90 miles (145 kilometers) east of Cape Canaveral, Florida, and is moving north near 6 mph (9 kph).
The Hurricane Center urged those as far north as parts of Virginia to monitor Tropical Storm Arthur's path.
UPDATE: 7/1 11:24pm
A Hurricane Hunter plane is scheduled to fly into Tropical Storm Arthur Wednesday morning.
By looking at satellite imagery, it appears to be developing a possible eye, indicating it may be strengthening.
As of 11p, it has maximum sustained winds of 50 miles-per-hour and is creeping slowly to the north.
It's located less than 100 miles off Cape Canaveral.
Arthur is expected to strengthen into a hurricane as it approaches the Carolina coast.
The closest brush with land will likely be Thursday night into Friday morning.
As for South Florida, we'll likely see on and off rain with gusty winds Tuesday night and Wednesday as storm bands whip around the system.
UPDATE 7/1 11:01
Tropical Storm Arthur forms off coast of Florida; 1st named storm of the Atlantic season.
Arthur is about 95 miles Southeast of Cape Caneveral, about 80 miles Northwest of Freeport, Grand Bahama Island with maximum sustained winds of 40 miles-per-hour.
A tropical storm watch is in effect for, east coast of Florida from Fort Pierce to Flagler Beach
A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, in this case within 24 to 36 hours.
Interests elsewhere along the southeast coast of the united states should monitor the progress of this system.
For storm information specific to your area in the united states, including possible inland watches and warnings, please monitor products issued by your local national weather service forecast office. For storm information specific to your area outside of the united states, please monitor products issued by your national meteorological service.
Discussion and 48-hour outlook ------------------------------ at 1100 am edt, 1500 utc, the center of tropical storm arthur was located near latitude 27.6 north, longitude 79.3 west. Arthur is moving toward the northwest near 2 mph, 4 km/h, and this general motion should continue through tonight, followed by a turn toward the north on Wednesday. On the forecast track, the center of the tropical cyclone is expected to remain just offshore and move east of the east-central coast of Florida during the next day or so. The system is forecast to pass east of northeastern Florida on Wednesday and Wednesday night.
Maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph, 65 km/h, with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours. During the past few hours, settlement point observation site on grand bahama island reported sustained winds of 38 mph, 61 km/h, with gusts to 44 mph, 70 km/h.
Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles, 75 km from the center.
The estimated minimum central pressure is 1007 mb, 29.74 inches.
Hazards affecting land ---------------------- wind, tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area by late today.
Rainfall, arthur is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 1 to 3 inches, mainly across the eastern Florida peninsula. Isolated maximum amounts of 5 inches are possible through wednesday. Rainfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 6 inches are possible over the northwestern bahamas through Wednesday.
Next advisory ------------- next intermediate advisory, 200 pm edt. Next complete advisory, 500 pm edt.
MIAMI (AP) _ A tropical depression that formed off the coast of Florida is expected to strengthen and soon become the first tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.
The depression's maximum sustained winds early Tuesday are near 35 mph (55 kph).
A tropical storm watch is in effect for Florida's east coast from Fort Pierce to Flagler Beach. The depression is centered about 95 miles (155 kilometers) southeast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, and is moving west near 2 mph (4 kph).
Meanwhile in the Pacific, Tropical Storm Elida is drifting southward off Mexico's southwestern coast. Elida's maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph (85 kph) with some weakening forecast.
A tropical storm warning is effect for Mexico's coast from Lazaro Cardenas to Cabo Corrientes.
It took until late June 30th, but Tropical Depression 1 has formed in the Atlantic Ocean.
Just before 11:00 p.m. the National Hurricane Center announced enough storms have wrapped around a central low pressure to label it a depression.
A Tropical Storm watch is now up for the east coast of Florida from Fort Pierce to just south of Flagler Beach.
The current movement is about 2 knots to the southwest.
(Photo: NASA / 2005 NASA)