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VIDEO: Marinas in ‘holding pattern’ as Arthur strengthens

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Tropical Storm Arthur was forecast to become a Category 1 hurricane Friday morning as it passes North Carolina’s Outer Banks, but some local marinas are less concerned about the storm than its impact on Fourth of July boating activities.

“This is nothing out of the ordinary for us,” Jarrod Umphlett, owner of the Outer Banks Marina in Wanchese, N.C., told Trade Only Today. The marina is located about six miles inland from the Oregon Inlet.

“A southeast wind for us means muddy water and rain. We get more surge from a hard west wind,” he said.

“We’re going to make sure the boats are secured, but we’re not calling for any marina evacuation,” Jim Tobin, owner of Pirate's Cove Marina in Manteo, N.C., told Trade Only Today on Tuesday afternoon.

“They’re predicting 50- or 60-knot winds for us, but that’s pretty light for here,” he said. “We have nor’easters that do that three or four times a year, and nobody even talks about them.”

Tobin said nobody will be out on the water for the holiday, but they don’t evacuate marina unless it’s at least a Category 2 hurricane.

“Nobody down here feels really threatened,” Umphlett said. “What we’re regretting is this is our biggest weekend of the year for anyone in the service industry on the Outer Banks. We’ll definitely lose Friday, but Saturday looks like the forecast is to clear up, so at least some of the smaller boats may be able to go out and play on inland waters. I don’t know about the offshore guys.”

Outer Banks Marina.

Outer Banks Marina.

Umphlett said he’s bringing in a carpenter to tighten up some trim work, and his crew will clean up docks, put away trash cans and “just tighten things down.”

He said the owners of a few boats from Oregon Inlet Fishing Center have called about coming inland and tying up for a few days.

The Oregon Inlet Fishing Center is in Nags Head, N.C., at the mouth of Oregon Inlet. The full-service marina is owned by the National Parks Service, which was meeting Tuesday afternoon to decide on any action to take.

“Hopefully it comes and goes within a few hours,” said Babette Lewis, a bookkeeper at the marina. “We won’t take an action until late Wednesday night or Thursday morning, but right now just kind of in a holding pattern.”

Tropical Storm Arthur is off Florida’s east coast this morning and moving north near 6 mph. Maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph, with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Arthur is expected to become a hurricane by Thursday.This morning, the National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane watch for Bogue Inlet to the Oregon Inlet in North Carolina, as well as Pamlico Sound.A tropical storm watch was issued for much of the coast from Florida’s Sebastian Inlet to the North Carolina’s eastern Albemarle Sound.

The National Hurricane Center is forecasting a north-northeast turn tonight, followed by a turn to the northeast with an increase in forward speed on Thursday, when the storm will move parallel to the South Carolina coast and approach the hurricane watch area.

NHC has posted projected wind speeds through the weekend for coastal towns along the East Coast.

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