Forecasts take Tropical Storm Arthur farther offshore, after brushing N.C.

The latest forecasts for Tropical Storm Arthur show it well off the coast of the Delmarva peninsula as it passes by on the Fourth of July, but before that it could brush the Outer Banks as a Category 1 hurricane.

The National Hurricane Center's predictions show the storm well off Maryland and Delaware's Atlantic coasts during the day on Friday. That could lead to dangerous rip currents and rough surf for the Independence Day holiday, but should keep strong winds out to sea.

The North Carolina coast is meanwhile under a tropical storm warning, with a hurricane watch in place as well. Arthur is expected to become a hurricane by Thursday, after taking a turn to the northeast.

Earlier forecasts Wednesday suggest it would make landfall in the Outer Banks, but later updates suggested Arthur will stay out to sea, meaning North Carolina may not feel the brunt of hurricane force winds and rain.

The storm was still developing and moving slowly Wednesday morning. It had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph as of 2 p.m. and was 175 miles east-northeast of Cape Canaveral, Fla. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Hurricane Hunter aircraft are closely monitoring Arthur.

At Category 1 hurricane strength, Arthur would have sustained winds of between 74 mph and 95 mph.

In Maryland, however, the biggest weather concerns remain heat and humidity and the thunderstorms and downpours they could generate Wednesday and Thursday, with limited impact expected from Arthur.

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