NORFOLK, Va. — Hurricane Arthur continued to weaken across New England and Canada on Saturday after causing some damage on North Carolina's barrier islands.
On North Carolina's barrier islands, people hoped to salvage the rest of the holiday weekend despite some flooding and power outages. Arthur made landfall on the southern end of the barrier islands Thursday with sustained winds up to 100 mph.
Arthur was downgraded to a post-tropical storm Saturday with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph, according to an advisory from the National Hurricane Center. Arthur was moving at about 22 mph and was located about 65 miles southwest of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
New England was largely spared from damage spawned by the storm. In its daily report, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it had no reports of injuries, deaths or major damage, and no state had requested federal assistance. Early Monday morning, FEMA had reports of 22,000 homes and businesses without power, including 3,000 in Massachusetts and 15,000 in Maine. Massachusetts reported 261 people in shelters.
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 were reported.
The storm proved far less damaging than feared in North Carolina. Some homes and businesses were flooded, trees toppled and initially thousands were without electricity after Arthur raced through the Outer Banks on Friday, but no deaths or serious injuries were reported. Independence Day fireworks were postponed. About 20 feet of the fragile road connecting Hatteras Island with the rest of the world buckled and required repairs.
The hurricane's effects were mostly confined to Hatteras and Ocracoke islands, and some vacationers were already back on beaches to the north and south on Friday.
Gov. Pat McCrory expressed relief and started encouraging vacationers to return to the beaches, a message echoed by locals.
"This ain't no damage at all. Everybody will be able to come back probably," Lindell Fergeson of Manteo said after driving around to view the aftermath. "It just held up the Fourth (of July) for a little bit, but everything will be open again."
By 11 a.m. Saturday, about 4,600 homes and businesses were without power, most on the state's east coast near Morehead City, according to Duke Energy. Power outages in North Carolina had peaked at 4 a.m. Friday when 22,000 customers lost power, the energy company said.
On Hatteras Island, part of North Carolina Highway 12 was buckled in a spot that was breached by Hurricane Irene in 2011. Dozens of workers were heading to fix the highway, and the Department of Transportation said it was confident the road would reopen Saturday as long as an underwater sonar test of a key bridge showed no problems.
Ocracoke Island's electricity distribution system was badly damaged by Arthur, leading officials to order residents to quit using air conditioners and water heaters so that generator-supplied power could provide refrigeration and other necessities during a cycle of planned outages. A nightly curfew between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. was declared until power was fully restored. Vacationers were being coaxed to leave with the offer of free ferry rides out.
Farther up the East Coast, Arthur forced thousands of vacationers to reschedule Independence Day fireworks displays threatened by the storm.
Jesse and Carol Wray rode out the storm in their home in Salvo on North Carolina Highway 12. They said the island was under several feet of water at the height of the storm. The 6-foot-tall lamppost at the end of their driveway was under water except for its top, and that was after the sound a quarter-mile away receded several feet.
"There's a lot of damage to a lot of houses around here," Wray said. "Everything flooded out. All the businesses are flooded, and there was a lot of wind damage."
John Wilson was at work Friday sucking water off the floor of the flooded Manteo building he rents to an art gallery. He felt lucky that the building along the town's waterfront took only a foot of water.
"We'll be back in business in a day or two," Wilson said.
Arthur is the first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season. It is the earliest in the season a hurricane has made landfall in North Carolina.
Contributing: The Associated Press; Dustin Wilson, WCNC-TV, Charlotte; Arrianee LeBeau and Karen Hopkins, WVEC-TV, Hampton-Norfolk, Va.
The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale categorizes storms based on their sustained wind speed and estimates property damage. Hurricanes reaching Category 3 or higher are considered major storms because of their potential for significant loss of life and property damage.
• Category 1. 74 to 95 mph. Very dangerous winds will produce some damage. Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.
• Category 2. 96 to 110 mph. Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage. Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last several days to weeks.
• Category 3. 111 to 129 mph. Devastating damage will occur. Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks afterward.
• Category 4.130 to 156 mph. Catastrophic damage will occur. Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
• Category 5. 157 mph and higher. Catastrophic damage will occur. A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
Source: National Hurricane Center
How some previous hurricanes rate
Hurricanes don't always have to be intense to cause a lot of damage. Here are five of the most damaging ones in the past 25 years.
• Katrina, 2005. Though it reached Category 5 over the Gulf of Mexico on Aug. 28, 2005. Katrina made landfall in Louisiana as a Category 3 storm. It was the deadliest hurricane since September 1928, and at $75 billion in estimated damage, it became the most expensive U.S. hurricane.
•Ivan, 2004. Hurricane Ivan was a Category 3 storm when it made landfall Sept. 16, 2004, just west of Gulf Shores, Ala., producing more than 100 tornadoes and heavy rain across the Southeast. Part of it also re-entered the Atlantic, drifted south, became a tropical storm again and hit southwest Louisiana as a tropical depression on Sept. 24. It caused $14.2 billion in U.S. property damage, the third highest on record. In the United States, 25 people died.
•Isabelle, 2003. By the time Isabelle came ashore Sept. 18, 2003, near Drum Inlet along North Carolina's Outer Banks, it had become a tropical storm after reaching Category 5 status in the open ocean. But its storm surges of more than 8 feet made it the worst storm to hit the Chesapeake Bay region since 1933 with 17 deaths and more than $3 billion in damage.
• Floyd, 1999. Though this storm touched land Sept. 16, 1999, near Cape Fear, N.C., as a Category 2 hurricane, it is most remembered for its rainfall: more than 19 inches in Wilmington, N.C., almost 14 inches in Brewster, N.Y. In the U.S., 56 people died; the floods caused as much as $6 billion in damage.
•Andrew, 1992. When Hurricane Andrew made landfall in south Florida on Aug. 24, 1992, it was a Category 4 storm. It crossed the Gulf and hit the central Louisiana coast Aug. 26 as a Category 3 hurricane. Total U.S. damage was $26.5 billion, second highest on record; 26 died in the USA and the Bahamas.
Source: National Hurricane Center