UPDATE: Arthur pounds North Carolina coast, but will it go north or northeast from there?

This National Weather Service map, issued at 6 p.m. Thursday, shows the expected path of Hurricane Arthur as of that time.
This National Weather Service map, issued at 6 p.m. Thursday, shows the expected path of Hurricane Arthur as of that time.

The eye of Hurricane Arthur is about to make contact with the North Carolina coast, with sustained maximum winds of 90 mph, as of about 6 p.m.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the Category 1 storm is just southeast of Cape Fear, where Wilmington, N.C. is located, which is south of the Outer Banks.

It should pass over the Outer Banks tonight, which may coincide with high tide on those barrier islands that are a popular vacation destination. Arthur also could intensify into a Category 2 hurricane during the night, particularly if it stays slightly offshore.

Meanwhile, due to Arthur's projected track, a Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for parts of far southeastern Massachusetts — Cape Cod from Provincetown to Chatham, as well as the island of Nantucket.

Speed and direction are key

The speed and direction of Arthur will be key to whether the rest of New England — including Connecticut — will feel much of an impact from the hurricane.

It now is moving at 13 mph to the north-northeast, the NWS said, and is expected to speed up and turn more easterly as it heads up the Atlantic Coast.

That means it will be offshore far enough — and moving fast enough — to have minimal impact on Connecticut, especially the southwestern part of the state.

However, if the storm's path should turn more northerly or slow down, the state could feel more of the brunt of the hurricane.

CT officials monitor storm’s path

In Connecticut, the state Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security continues to monitor Arthur for any potential impacts on the state.

“Although the latest forecast does not have Arthur severely impacting the state,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said late this afternoon, “we need to continue to monitor the storm’s path.

“This storm is a great reminder that we need to be prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws at us as we move into the height of hurricane season,” Malloy said.

State officials working with NWS

Connecticut state personnel are participating in ongoing NWS conference calls to get the latest information on the storms track and is sending out regular updates to all municipalities and the tribal nations.

Arthur is more likely to effect southeastern Connecticut, near New London, than the western part of the state — perhaps by bringing high winds and rain, depending on its exact path.

For more information on Hurricane Preparedness, visit ct.gov/hurricane.