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Posted: Thursday, July 3, 2014 9:26 am | Updated: 3:13 pm, Thu Jul 3, 2014.

RODANTHE, N.C. (AP) — Thousands of vacationers and residents are leaving parts of North Carolina's Outer Banks as Hurricane Arthur draws nearer.

The hurricane is expected to give that part of the coast a glancing blow tomorrow on Independence Day. It's not expected to make landfall, but it's expected to swipe the coast early tomorrow with winds of up to 85 miles an hour. Forecasters believe it will be off the coast of New England later in the day, eventually making landfall in Canada's maritime provinces as a tropical storm.

A National Hurricane Center forecaster says Outer Banks residents and visitors who fail to leave ahead of the hurricane's expected arrival should prepare for possibly getting stuck for several days without food, water or power.

Hatteras Island is under a mandatory evacuation order for visitors and residents. Officials are asking an estimated 35,000 people to leave through the only road on and off the island.

One couple had loaded up their car and left Hatteras Island at 3:30 a.m. today to beat the expected traffic jam. Nichole Specht and Ryan Witman found the road wide open for their return home to Pennsylvania.

%@AP Links

134-a-14-(Mike Sprayberry, director, North Carolina Division of Emergency Management, in AP interview)-"eastern North Carolina"-North Carolina Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry says the parts of the state that are now under a mandatory evacuation order include Hatteras Island. (3 Jul 2014)

<<CUT *134 (07/03/14)££ 00:14 "eastern North Carolina"

133-a-15-(Mike Sprayberry, director, North Carolina Division of Emergency Management, in AP interview)-"by the storm"-North Carolina Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry says officials are taking Hurricane Arthur seriously as it approaches the Outer Banks. (3 Jul 2014)

<<CUT *133 (07/03/14)££ 00:15 "by the storm"

APPHOTO NCWSN106: Vehicles travel across the Thomas Rhodes Bridge as rain falls early Thursday morning, July 3, 2014 in Wilmington, N.C. Residents along the coast of North Carolina are bracing for the arrival of the Hurricane Arthur, a category one storm. (AP Photo/The Star-News, Ken Blevins) (3 Jul 2014)

<<APPHOTO NCWSN106 (07/03/14)££

APPHOTO VANOV102: The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse shines on Hatteras Island, N.C., before dawn on Thursday, July 3, 2014. The island is under a mandatory evacuation order because of approaching Hurricane Arthur. (AP Photo/The Virginian-Pilot,Steve Earley) MAGS OUT (3 Jul 2014)

<<APPHOTO VANOV102 (07/03/14)££

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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