Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Hurricane may bring Phila. a rainy holiday

Arthur's track is far off the coast, but flood watches, forecasts affect plans.

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Although the storm is forecast to veer well away from the coast, meteorologists warned that Hurricane Arthur could affect the Philadelphia region well into the holiday weekend.

Flash-flood watches were in effect for the entire region through noon Friday, and the dangerous rip currents generated by the swirling tropical mass could persist even as the storm heads toward the Canadian Maritimes, said Kristin Kline at the National Weather Service.

"It could be a high risk for the entire holiday weekend," she said. "The water's still going to be churned."

A band of strong thunderstorms swept through the region Thursday evening. There were numerous reports of downed trees, some blocking lanes of traffic, others falling on buildings. At one point, Peco reported that more than 100,000 customers were without power.

Even before the first drops fell Thursday, the forecast had an effect on holiday festivities. Several towns on both side of the river canceled Thursday-night fireworks shows, and the Philly Pops moved its concert indoors to the Kimmel Center.

More rain was expected Friday morning, when Vice President Biden is scheduled to speak at the July Fourth Celebration of Freedom ceremony at Independence Mall.

Weather won't be the only inconvenience visitors will have to contend with. Because of heightened security, people wishing to attend the ceremony should allow extra time to arrive and depart, authorities said. Both the general and ticketed public will have one entrance gate to use, at Fifth and Ranstead Streets, between Chestnut and Market Streets on the southeast side of Independence Mall. It will open at 8 a.m. and close two hours later.

Thursday evening, Arthur was approaching the North Carolina coast as a Category 1 hurricane with peak winds at 85 m.p.h. It became a Category 2 Thursday night, and its winds were expected to top 100 m.p.h. by Friday morning as it spins out over the ocean.

Typically, the first Atlantic hurricane doesn't show up until Aug. 10, according to the National Hurricane Center.

While Arthur wasn't having a direct impact on the region, in addition to stirring up riptides it was a factor in the heavy rains, meteorologists said.


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