Hurricane Arthur strikes North Carolina


Hurricane Arthur, packing winds of 100mph, has made landfall in the US state of North Carolina, as thousands abandon their 4 July holiday plans.

The first hurricane of the season, now a Category 2 storm, reached land between Cape Lookout and Beaufort at 23:15 local time (03:15 Friday GMT), the US National Hurricane Center said.

Thousands left the area, made up of barrier islands known as Outer Banks.

Ferries and highways were packed as people left.

Towns all along the state's coast have rescheduled Independence Day events and fireworks.

A mandatory evacuation of Hatteras Island, the easternmost strip of land in the Outer Banks, began early on Thursday, when Tropical Storm Arthur was upgraded to hurricane status.

It was made a Category 2 hurricane late the same day, which means winds reached 96mph.

After passing North Carolina, Arthur was expected to weaken as it travels north along the East Coast.