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Arthur approaches N. Carolina; vacationers head out

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RODANTHE, N.C. — Hurricane Arthur gained strength in the Atlantic today and threatened to strike near the North Carolina coast on Independence Day, prompting thousands of vacationers and residents to leave parts of the state’s popular but flood-prone Outer Banks.

Nichole Specht, 27, and Ryan Witman, 28, had pre-loaded their Honda CRV and left Hatteras Island at 3:30 a.m. today, beating the expected traffic jam. The island was under an evacuation order, with no traffic allowed in. Officials asked an estimated 35,000 residents and travelers to leave through North Carolina Route 12, the only road on and off Hatteras.

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