The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

July 5, 2014

Only road onto N.C. island reopening after Arthur

KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. — North Carolina's popular beach towns began returning to the business of recreation Saturday, after Arthur lashed the state's coast with forceful winds and heavy rain and then churned northward without leaving a trail of significant damage.

Arthur was downgraded to a tropical storm early Saturday, but the storm's near-hurricane strength winds slammed into Canada's maritime provinces, causing 113,000 customers of Nova Scotia Power to lose electricity. The utility in New Brunswick reported 86,000 outages. The storm has caused flight cancellations and delays at the region's largest airport in Halifax.

New England was largely spared from damage spawned by the storm, but some 19,000 people in Maine and 1,600 in Vermont were without power after high winds and heavy rains pounded the region. There were reports of localized flooding in coastal areas of Massachusetts and the Nova Star Ferry suspended service Friday and Saturday morning because of dangerous seas. No injuries or deaths have been reported.

The hurricane's effects in North Carolina were mostly confined to Hatteras and Ocracoke islands, and some vacationers were already back on beaches to the north and south on Friday. But the ocean churned by Arthur remained dangerous Saturday with the risk of rip currents able to wash the strongest swimmer to sea. That didn't stop thousands of people from enjoying the sun and sand and leaving lifeguards to remind beach-goers of the danger.

"We're going to try to keep people out of the water and keep them safe," said David Elder, lifeguard supervisor for the town of Kill Devil Hills. "However, if conditions abate, I'd be glad to drop" the no-swimming warning. More than 600 of the 700 lifeguard rescues by Elder's department last year were required because of rip currents, he said.

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