Hurricane Arthur Upgraded to Category 2 Storm

Storms, heavy rain -- even hail -- battered the DMV Thursday afternoon and evening

As Hurricane Arthur approached the east coast Thursday night, the D.C. area got a significant amount of rain and thunderstorms.

Arthur made landfall in North Carolina late Thursday into Friday morning, but isn't expected to cause much damage in the D.C. metro area.

Hail was reported in parts of Maryland, especially around Mt. Airy in Carroll County. The storms are expected to end by Friday, and shouldn't affect holiday plans.

The weather also led organizers of the "A Capitol Fourth" festival to close Thursday's dress rehearsal to the public and media; usually, the dress rehearsal is a popular way to get a preview of the event without the July 4 crowds.

The plans are to hold Friday's festival as planned, weather permitting. Gates open at 3 p.m.

Our stormy weather isn't a result of the first named storm of the 2014 Atlantic season, Hurricane Arthur. In fact, the cold front moving through our area and creating storms is helping push Arthur away.

But the storms surrounding D.C. could be serious: A flash flood watch is in effect for everyone in the region through late Thursday night.

To the south, Hurricane Arthur gained strength Thursday as it approached North Carolina, and forecasters project it will probably be a Category 2 storm when it moves over the state Thursday night and Friday.

Hurricane Arthur has prompted a hurricane warning for much of the North Carolina coast and a mandatory evacuation for visitors to the Outer Banks' Hatteras Island as of 5 a.m. Thursday. Residents also were advised to leave the island. A voluntary evacuation was announced for the Outer Banks' Ocracoke Island, accessible only by ferry.

In addition to the hurricane warning, tropical storm warnings were in effect for coastal areas in South Carolina and Virginia.

In the D.C. area, Arthur will help keep rain around Thursday night and may bring some showers very early Friday morning.

Thursday was also our final day for dangerously hot weather for the D.C. area, with highs in the mid-90s.

A heat emergency was issued in D.C. Wednesday when the temperature reached 88 degrees with a heat index of 96 degrees by about 11 a.m. Temps reached 99 degrees in the District. The hurricane won’t disturb your Fourth of July fireworks plans locally, although Ocean City, Maryland, postponed its fireworks by one day because the rain might not allow enough time for setting them up for Friday.

When the temperature or heat index gets above 95, residents are encouraged to take extra precautions against the heat.

For the weekend, the weather is expected to be pleasant for beach-goers, with temperatures reaching into the middle and upper 80s. But breezy conditions will remain in the area Saturday thanks to Arthur.

In the District, the holiday weekend will be spectacular with low humidity, plenty of sun and highs in the 80s.

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