July 4 plans hit as USA braces for first hurricane of the season

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Washington, July 4: Thousands cancelled their plan for an extended weekend starting July 4, the Independence Day, as the first hurricane of the Atlantic season, Arthur, gained strength on Thursday.

The hurricane was expected to turn into Category 2 as it reaches the North Carolina coast where evacuation orders had been issued.

Hurricane Arthur was about 175 kilometres south-southwest of Cape Fear in North Carolina, US weather forecasts said, according to a Reuters report. The storm was expected to get close to the North Carolina Outer Banks late on Thursday and early Friday with winds reaching 170 kph.

Several people had to cancel their holiday plans in the face of the storm

Arthur would be the first hurricane since Superstorm Sandy which had badly impacted New York and New Jersey in October 2012.

The hurricane could result in life-threatening rip currents and a storm surge of up to 1.2 metres to North Carolina's barrier islands, foreasts said.

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