The Canadian Press
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 exactly which areas will be hit the hardest.

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

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

“The nature of the trough approaching from the Great Lakes will make all the difference in Arthur’s intensity, track and structure as it moves toward our region,” the hurricane centre says in its latest Thursday morning statement.

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

It says Nova Scotia will likely experience the highest winds, while New Brunswick and P.E.I. could see the heaviest rainfall.

The forecaster says anywhere from 50 to 100 millimetres could fall.

In the United States, Arthur threatened to give North Carolina a glancing blow on Friday, prompting thousands of vacationers and residents celebrating Independence Day to leave parts of the state’s popular but flood-prone Outer Banks.

Forecasters expect Arthur to whip past the Outer Banks _ a 320-kilometre string of narrow barrier islands with about 57,000 permanent residents _ on Friday without making landfall but still bringing rain, heavy winds, storm surge and dangerous rip tides.

Before the storm hit, tourism officials had expected 250,000 people to travel to the Outer Banks for the holiday weekend. Gov. Pat McCrory warned people not to risk their safety by trying to salvage their picnics, barbecues and pre-paid beach cottage vacations.

“Don’t put your stupid hat on,” McCrory said.