LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

(AP) -- A hurricane watch has been issued for part of North Carolina's coast as Tropical Storm Arthur moves northward, threatening Fourth of July plans along the East Coast.

The hurricane watch in North Carolina covers an area from Bogue Inlet to Oregon Inlet, including Pamlico Sound.

A tropical storm watch is in effect for parts of Florida and South Carolina.The storm's maximum sustained winds early Wednesday are near 60 mph (95 kph). The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Arthur is expected to strengthen and become a hurricane by Thursday.

Arthur is centered about 90 miles (145 kilometers) east of Cape Canaveral, Florida, and is moving north near 6 mph (9 kph). The Hurricane Center urged those as far north as parts of Virginia to monitor Tropical Storm Arthur's path.

The N.C. Department of Transportation is in the midst of gearing up for a possible strike from Tropical Storm Arthur as well. The Associated Press is reporting that work crews in the coastal divisions are checking equipment and topping off fuel tanks. Along the Outer Banks, crews are staging front end loaders, motor graders and bulldozers along N.C. 12 in Ocracoke, Rodanthe and Pea Island, south of the Bonner Bridge, in Dare and Hyde counties.

That's in addition to other equipment already at the maintenance yards in Manteo, Ocracoke and Buxton.Crews have inspected emergency ferry docks to ensure the sites are ready if needed. The ferry division anticipates that service could be affected along its routes from south to north as the storm gets closer.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Read or Share this story: http://on.wcsh6.com/1lSSkvA