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Hurricane Arthur bears down on Carolina coast

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Kill Devil Hills, NC (CNN) - The first hurricane of the season is churning in the Atlantic off Georgia’s coast, but it's not staying there for long. Hurricane watches are in effect for North Carolina.

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Wind and waves are picking up along the North Carolina coast as beach-goers get in their last few hours of clear skies. Hurricane Arthur is grinding toward the Carolinas bringing winds surpassing 75 miles an hour, and promising to put a damper on July fourth festivities. Parts of North Carolina’s outer banks remain under a mandatory evacuation.

Craig Fugate - Director, FEMA: "The more people that evacuate, it makes it easier to go in there and clean up afterwards, we're not having to do a lot of search and rescue operations and hopefully with this storm we don't have loss of life.

Governor Pat McCrory - North Carolina: "Usually where we have casualties is either right before a storm or right after a storm, when people get too comfortable and not listening to the warnings of public safety officials"

Meteorologists say even if Arthur stays off-shore as a weak category one hurricane, that won't diminish the danger.

Rick Knabb - Director, National Hurricane Center: "The inland flooding due to heavy rain, the rip currents and the waves, we've had a lot of people die in the ocean, and then there's also the storm surge flooding. We could see 2-4 feet above normally dry ground."

AAA estimates some 41 million people are on the roads this week. Add a treacherous storm and it could make traveling a nightmare.

Robert Sinclair - AAA New York: “If you’re out on the road, as probably 80% of those traveling will be, pack your patience." 

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