Tropical Storm Arthur was the first named storm of the 1996 Atlantic hurricane season, forming over Grand Bahama on June 17. After forming, Arthur moved north, and made landfall near Cape Lookout, NC on June 20 as a weak tropical storm. After landfall, Arthur moved to the east out into the open Atlantic Ocean, weakening to a tropical depression as it did so. Arthur became extratropical and was absorbed by another system on June 23. Arthur caused no significant damage, and no deaths were reported in association with the weak system.

Arthur over North Carolina
Formation June 17, 1996
Dissipation June 21, 1996
Highest winds 45 mph
Lowest pressure 1004 mbar
Deaths None
Damages Unknown
Areas affected Bahamas, South Carolina, North Carolina

Meteorological History

Arthur's origin might can be traced back to a tropical wave which likely exited the coast of Africa sometime in early June. The wave brought pressure falls to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic on June 15. On June 16, satellite imagery showed an increase in showers and cloudiness east of the Bahamas. On June 17, the system improved in organization in the lower levels of the atmosphere, as observed by surface data, satellite estimations, as well as because of reconnaissance reports. Because of this, it is estimated that Tropical Depression One formed over Grand Bahama on June 17. After becoming a depression, the system moved northwest, then north, becoming Tropical Storm Arthur on June 19, despite high amounts of wind shear, due to a cold low over the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Arthur reached its peak of 45 mph winds on June 19, the same day it became a tropical storm, based on a ship report indicating Arthur having 40 knot sustained winds. Arthur later turned to the northeast, and made landfall near Cape Lookout, NC as a minimal tropical storm on June 20. After landfall, Arthur moved east, out into the open Atlantic Ocean, weakening to a tropical depression as it did so. Arthur became extratropical on June 23, regaining tropical storm status as an extratropical cyclone. Arthur caused little, if any damage, and no fatalities were reported in association with Arthur.


At first, it was thought that Arthur would move into the Carolinas and then dissipate, although after that, official forecasts, as well as computer model guidance agreed in recurving Arthur around the western periphery of the Atlantic subtropical ridge. Arthur was never predicted to be more than a minimal tropical storm.


North Carolina

Radar image of Arthur impacting North Carolina.

In North Carolina, Arthur produced strong winds, with a sustained wind of 33 knots, and a gust of 39 knots being reported from Ocracoke Island on the North Carolina Outer Banks on June 20. Also, many areas of coastal North Carolina reported 2 to 4 inches of rain from Arthur.

South Carolina

In many coastal areas of South Carolina, Arthur produced 2 to 4 inch rainfall, like in North Carolina. The highest rainfall total reported from Arthur occured in Georgetown County, South Carolina, where 5 inches of rain fell from the cyclone.

Atlantic Ocean

The ship Atlantic Huron reported a sustained wind of 42 knots on June 19 while located 35 miles southeast of Arthur's center. The C-MAN Station at Frying Pan Shoals reported sustained winds of 34 knots and a gust to 40 knots on June 19. This station is located 30 miles southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and the winds were measued at approximately 80 feet up, so the winds were likely lower at the surface.

Lack of Retirement

Due to the minimal impacts, the name Arthur was not retired by the World Meteorological Organization in the Spring of 1997, and it is has been in the 2002 Atlantic hurricane season, and is on the list of names to be used for the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season.

See Also

1996 Atlantic hurricane season.