Local impacts likely minimal from 2020's first tropical storm

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The storm is expected to become Tropical Storm Arthur on Sunday.

WILMINGTON – The Atlantic officially has its first tropical system several weeks before the start of hurricane season. Fortunately, local meteorologists aren’t forecasting much of an impact in Southeastern North Carolina.

Tropical Depression One is forecast to develop into Tropical Storm Arthur sometimes Sunday before potentially skimming the Outer Banks Monday afternoon, according to the first track released 5 p.m. Saturday by National Hurricane Center (NHC).

The current track does not have the storm making landfall before turning east out to the ocean.

Still, the forecasted track has prompted the NHC to issue Tropical Storm Warnings for much of the central coastline of North Carolina, as far south as Surf City. However, Stephen Keebler with the National Weather Service’s Wilmington office said local impacts will be minimal.

“At this point, it is going to be all but a non-event for us,” he said. “The thing we are already experiencing, and probably will for the next few days, is an elevated rip current risk. Because a tropical system, even a weaker one like this one, can cause significant swell to move onto a beach, that increases the rip current risk.”

Moving into Sunday, Keebler said the winds locally may shift a bit outside, but aren’t likely to pick up any strength.

Showers are possible Sunday as well, but they are not associated with the storm.

However, as with any storm, Keebler cautioned things could change over the next few days.

“Things could change, the track could change,” he said. “That is just how these things work. But for now, our impacts will be minimal.”

Reporter Hunter Ingram can be reached at 910-343-2327 or Hunter.Ingram@StarNewsOnline.com.