Tropical storm forms off North Carolina coast

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But Tropical Storm Fay won’t be hanging around the Tar Heel State for very long

A new tropical storm, the sixth of the young Atlantic hurricane season, formed off the North Carolina coast Thursday afternoon.

But Tropical Storm Fay isn’t expected to cause many problems beyond some localized heavy rain, especially along the Outer Banks, and choppy surf that could lead to rip current concerns.

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, Fay was located roughly 40 miles east-northeast of Cape Hatteras with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph. It was moving north at 7 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The storm, which isn’t likely to strengthen much, is forecast to move quickly up the East Coast, with the weak storm looking like it could make landfall in New Jersey or New York late Friday or early Saturday with heavy rains and potentially strong winds.

This isn’t the first storm to menace the N.C. coast this young 2020 hurricane season, which started June 1 – with two of those tropical systems coming before the season officially began.

In late May, Tropical Storm Bertha formed off Charleston, S.C., before moving inland into central North Carolina.

Bertha came a week after Tropical Storm Arthur brought heavy rains and winds to much of the North Carolina coast, hitting parts of the Outer Banks particularly hard.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has warned coastal communities to prepare for an above-normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, with up to 19 named storms, of which up to 10 could become hurricanes. An average hurricane season sees 12 named storms, six of which are hurricanes.

Hurricane season runs through November.

Reporter Gareth McGrath can be reached at 910-343-2384 or