CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Tropical Storm Arthur will bring strong winds and heavy rains to parts of the Carolinas coast, forecasters say.
Arthur, the first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, is located about 135 miles south of Morehead City as of 5 a.m. Monday and is moving northeast, according to the National Weather Service. North Carolina could start to feel winds associated with the storm early Monday morning.
The storm was moving "a bit faster" early Monday, NWS officials said.
"Arthur will approach the coast of North Carolina during the next few hours, and then move near or just east of the coast of North Carolina later today. Arthur is then forecast to turn away from the east coast of the United States tonight and Tuesday," forecasters said early Monday.
The tropical storm is about two weeks earlier than expected, as Atlantic hurricane season doesn't officially begin until June 1.
The storm has maximum sustained winds of 45 mph as of 5 a.m. Monday with higher gusts, the weather service says. Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station reported a gust of 39 mph overnight as the storm neared, the NWS said.
Tropical storm-force winds extend 90 miles from the center of the storm, mainly to the east, the NWS says.
The Outer Banks are expected to feel the brunt of the impacts, with heavy rain and tropical-storm force winds expected in the area on Monday, the NWS says. A tropical storm warning was issued for the area early Sunday morning, after the storm's path shifted a bit westward and closer to the Outer Banks, McClatchy News reports.
The warning extends from Surf City to Duck and includes the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds. The warning indicates that tropical storm conditions are expected in the warning area, within 24 hours in this case.
Gov. Roy Cooper urged North Carolinians to pay attention to the storm and to not "take chances in dangerous surf" in a news release Sunday afternoon.