July 3, 2014 3:40 pm

Arthur strengthens to a hurricane, warnings extended

WATCH: The Outer Banks of North Carolina are bracing for Hurricane Arthur, expected to hit within hours. Craig Boswell is in Nags Head, North Carolina with the latest.

HALIFAX – Forecasters say the season’s first hurricane is expected to bring significant rain and wind to Atlantic Canada on Saturday, although it’s too early to tell which areas will be hit the hardest.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Arthur became a hurricane today, with maximum sustained winds of about 120 kilometres an hour.

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Canadian forecasters say a trough of low pressure will move eastward from the Great Lakes and guide the storm toward Atlantic Canada.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre says the nature of the trough will affect Arthur’s intensity and track as it moves north.

The centre says the storm’s projected track has been moved slightly to the west.

It says significant rain and wind is possible for the Atlantic provinces, but it’s too early to make rainfall and wind speed predictions.

Meanwhile, hurricane warnings on the coast of North Carolina have been extended and now cover an area from Surf City to the Virginia border.

WATCH: NC governor Pat McCrory says he’s not cancelling his 4th of July plans in the face of Hurricane Arthur

Hurricane Arthur is centred about 545 kilometres southwest of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and is moving north near 15 kph.

The first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season has prompted a mandatory evacuation for visitors to the Outer Banks’ Hatteras Island as of 5 a.m. Thursday. Residents also are advised to leave the island.

With files from the Associated Press

READ MORE: Ahead of July 4th, East Coast eyes tropical storm

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