The 11:00pm location for Tropical Storm Arthur is 27.9 north and 79.2 west which is about 90 miles east of Cape Canaveral, Florida. The maximum sustained winds remain at 50 mph and the present movement is to the north at 2 mph.
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the east coast of Florida from Fort Pierce to Flagler Beach.
Interests along the United States east coast from Florida north through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and southeast Virginia should monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Arthur.
At 11:00pm Tuesday night, data from the Melbourne, FL, radar indicates that Tropical Storm Arthur is undergoing some changes and has taken on a complex structure.
At the mid levels of the atmosphere, the radar sees a possible “eye” beginning to take shape with the thunderstorms now beginning to close in a circle around that eye. At the low levels of the atmosphere, the radar looks like that “eye” is about 25 to 30 miles west of that mid level center of circulation. It could be that the “eye” is re-forming farther to the east and that could explain why some of the computer models are now a little more bullish in keeping Arthur a little farther east and out to sea versus passing right over Cape Hatteras as the models were suggesting earlier today.
Arthur is moving slowly to the north at 2 mph. The forecast track computer model guidance remains in good agreement on a front coming down along the east coast of the United States on Thursday and Friday and steering Arthur to the north followed by a turn toward the northeast and gradually accelerating the storm’s forward speed.
The most significant feature tonight is that the official forecast track has shifted slightly more east and keeps the center offshore. Still Arthur is almost 300 miles wide and even if the center is offshore there will still be some rain, wind and storm surge impacts for parts of eastern North Carolina.
Based on the new forecast track guidance, additional watches and warnings are not necessary for the North Carolina coast at this time. However, tropical storm or hurricane watches will still likely be required for parts of the North Carolina and South Carolina coasts on Wednesday.
Skip Waters, Chief Meteorologist
[UPDATE FROM CNN] As of 8 p.m. Tuesday, the center of Tropical Storm Arthur was stalled about 90 miles east-southeast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, and 95 miles north-northwest of Freeport in the Bahamas.
But Arthur isn't expected to remain stationary for long, with the National Hurricane Center predicting it will drift northwest before turning north on Wednesday.
The system is expected to go east of northeast Florida sometime Wednesday, before moving north and possibly affecting the Outer Banks of North Carolina on Thursday night.
By then, it may have changed to Hurricane Arthur, if it gets stronger, as forecasters expect. To reach that status, the storm must have sustained winds of at least 74 mph.
Already on Tuesday, parts of eastern Florida, from Fort Pierce to Flagler Beach, were under a tropical storm watch given the possible combination of powerful winds and heavy rains.
Grand Bahama Island saw sustained winds of 47 mph and a gust of 61 mph on Tuesday, according to the Miami-based hurricane center. Such winds may be the least of the worries for the Caribbean island chain, parts of which could end up drenched in 6 inches of rain through Wednesday.
Arthur is expected to produce significant, but slightly less, rainfall in the United States.
The hurricane center forecast calls for as much as 5 inches through Wednesday in Florida, with 1- to 3-inch totals more likely.
Other parts of the East Coast also are expected to be affected as the storm churns north.
CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said the fact that the Outer Banks, a string of barrier islands, is hard to get onto and off of may make the situation difficult for those who are planning to spend their July Fourth holiday there.
The islands are low and rain could easily wash onto the roads, making them impassable even before the eye of the storm makes landfall, he said. All preparation for the storm should be done as soon as possible, he stressed.
On Tuesday afternoon CNN affiliate WWAY in Wilmington, North Carolina, was asking its readers to take a survey measuring how concerned they are about Arthur. Will it make them "batten down the hatches" or be just "another day at the beach," or does it matter, "as long as it's gone in time for fireworks"? There's also an option for "don't know/don't care."
Lee Nettles, the executive director of the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, said his office hasn't received any panicked or alarmed calls from anyone.
"You take every storm warning seriously," he said. "But, for the most part, folks aren't overly concerned."
After hitting the Carolinas, the system is likely to turn northeast, forecasters said.