Tri-State flights and vacations susceptible to hurricane
HUNTINGTON -- While the Tri-State is an unlikely target during hurricane season, a favorite vacation destination for many area residents is facing a far different scenario.
Forecasters expect Hurricane Arthur to nudge along the eastern coast of the U.S. starting early Friday.
It is expected to first come in contact near the border of North Carolina and South Carolina, a popular vacation destination for Tri-State residents that includes Myrtle Beach and the Outer Banks.
The National Hurricane Center predicted Arthur would swipe the North Carolina coast with winds of up to 85 mph Friday and then be off the coast of New England later in the day, eventually making landfall in Canada's maritime provinces as a tropical storm.
Allegiant Air offers flights from Tri-State Airport every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Friday's flight, scheduled to take off at 3:54 p.m., had not been canceled Thursday afternoon. The 10:27 a.m. Saturday flight also still was set for takeoff.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Arthur, the first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, prompted a hurricane warning for much of the North Carolina coast.
Tropical storm warnings were in effect for coastal areas in South Carolina and Virginia. On the Outer Banks' Ocracoke Island, accessible only by ferry, a voluntary evacuation was underway. The mandatory evacuation for Hatteras Island residents and visitors began at 5 a.m.
Other areas of the Outer Banks were taking a cautious yet optimistic approach: No evacuations had been ordered for areas north of Hatteras, including Kill Devil Hills, which was the site of the Wright brothers' first controlled, powered airplane flights in December 1903.
Liz Sommerville, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston, said only West Virginians in the eastern panhandle could expect to see some moderate effects from Arthur on Friday, but the rest of the state's residents would have to go out of their way to get into the hurricane's path.
She cautioned against going to any area that is in the line of a hurricane, no matter how much a vacationer paid for a vacation.
"My advice would be to stay out of the area," Sommerville said. "People want to go in and ride it out, what they are setting themselves up for is a possible rescue situation which is dangerous for them and the rescuers as well. We just suggest going somewhere else or rescheduling your vacation. It's not a safe place to be when a hurricane comes that close."
If Arthur makes landfall in the U.S. on Friday, it would be the first hurricane to do so on July Fourth, according to National Hurricane Center research that goes back to the 1850s.
The Herald-Dispatch welcomes your comments on this article, but please be civil. Avoid profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, accusations of criminal activity, name-calling or insults to the other posters. Herald-dispatch.com does not control or monitor comments as they are posted, but if you find a comment offensive or uncivil, hover your mouse over the comment and click the X that appears in the upper right of the comment. If you do not want your comment to post to your personal Facebook page, uncheck the box below the comment.