If you're going to an East Coast beach this weekend, you might want to pack some rain boots with your flip flops.
Meteorologists say Tropical Storm Arthur, which is expected to grow into a hurricane by the Fourth of July and hit most harshly at North Carolina's Outer Banks, will also cause heavy rains and rip currents at northeastern beaches.
"The farther south you go, the harder it will be, with fairly heavy rain and gusty winds," said Joe Sobel, expert senior meteorologist for AccuWeather.
Beaches from Delaware through the Carolinas can expect rain and thunderstorms Thursday and Friday, he said.
Also, there's a tropical storm warning in effect from Thursday morning through early Friday morning in Ocean City, N.J., Ocean City, Md., and Virginia Beach, Va., according to the National Weather Service.
York may also see some rain Thursday because of heavy moisture in the air, said Peter Jung, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
But York and the northeast beaches are expected to be mild and clear in time for fireworks Friday night, he said.
"Of course it all hinges on the path of the storm though," Jung said.
While temperatures are expected to remain humid and in the upper 80s Thursday in York and on the northeast coast, those conditions are expected to subside Friday.
"The weekend will be terrific in York and on the coast. It will be sunny with low humidity and highs in the low 80s," Sobel said.
Evacuation: Concerned by the storm, North Carolina emergency officials are ordering a mandatory evacuation of a fragile barrier island along the Outer Banks as Arthur approaches.
Dare County officials said Wednesday that the mandatory evacuation of Hatteras Island would begin at 5 a.m. Thursday. After that time, no one will be allowed on the island
The Outer Banks' tourism agency was expecting about 250,000 people to travel to the region and stay in hotels and rental homes for the long holiday weekend.
"We want everybody to be safe and prepared, but we are not overly concerned at this point," said Lee Nettles, the executive director the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau. He noted that forecasters were predicting the storm would move fast and be less severe than others in locals' memories.
But flooding concerns remained: Twice in recent years, storm-driven waves have sliced North Carolina Route 12, the main road along the islands, rendering it unpassable. On Ocracoke Island, accessible only by ferry, a voluntary evacuation was announced.
Stores saw runs on generators, lanterns and flashlights, but even some workers weren't yet concerned.
At a news conference, Gov. Pat McCrory advised residents, "Don't put your stupid hat on." With concerns of rip tides, he urged surfers and swimmers not to get in the water regardless of how good the waves might be.
"Our major goal is to ensure that no lives are lost during this upcoming storm," including those of emergency workers, McCrory said. He declared a state of emergency for 25 coastal and adjoining counties.
—Reach Candy Woodall at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Associated Press contributed to this report.