A powerful storm system off the Florida coast has strengthened into Tropical Storm Arthur, the first named storm of the season, and forecasters say it could intensify to a hurricane over the Atlantic and bring rain and rough surf to the tri-state area over the holiday weekend.
Tropical Storm Arthur intensified from a tropical depression Tuesday as it drifted over the warm Atlantic Ocean waters near the Bahamas with sustained winds of 40 mph.
Arthur is expected to slowly intensify as it pushes northward, on a path parallel to the southeastern coast of the United States.
It is forecast to pass near the Outer Banks of North Carolina Thursday, and possibly make landfall as a strong tropical storm or weak hurricane.
Arthur will then reemerge over the Atlantic Ocean and likely intensify into a weak Category 1 hurricane with winds of 75 mph or higher early Friday morning.
The tri-state area shouldn't see a direct hit from Arthur. Most computer models show it moving well south and east of Long Island, but the region should see some fringe effects Friday afternoon and night, including heavy rain along the coastline and very rough surf.
The rain could interfere with fireworks Friday night; a spokesman said the Macy's fireworks show over the East River would take place rain or shine. Organizers will monitor the forecast and could delay the start if severe weather moves in.
The storm's effects include a high risk of rip currents at beaches through the July 4 weekend.
Clouds should clear early Saturday morning, and the rest of the weekend looks sunny and warm.
Get the latest from the Storm Team on NBC 4 New York's weather page, with an interactive radar you can use to track Arthur.