By Chris Keane NAGS HEAD, N.C, (Reuters) - The first hurricane of the Atlantic season made landfall on the North Carolina coast Thursday night, a windy, wet party-pooper that forced thousands of vacationers to scrap their July Fourth holiday plans amid evacuation orders. Hurricane Arthur crossed the coast near Cape Lookout at the southern end of North Carolina's Outer Banks at 11:15 p.m. EDT (0315 GMT), with maximum sustained winds of 100 miles per hour (160 kph), earning it Category 2 status on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. Moving northeast at 18 mph (30 kph), Arthur is the first hurricane to hit the United States since Superstorm Sandy devastated New York and New Jersey in October 2012 and caused $70 billion in estimated damage. After scything through the Outer Banks, Arthur is expected to move toward the northeast over cooler water on Friday, diminishing in strength and posing little risk to the northeastern United States, forecasters said.
BOSTON (AP) — With the season's first hurricane bearing down on New England, Boston hosted the Boston Pops Fourth of July outdoor concert and fireworks show Thursday, a night earlier than planned and just ahead of drenching rain.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A veteran who collapsed in an Albuquerque Veteran Affairs hospital cafeteria — 500 yards from the emergency room — died after waiting around 20 minutes for an ambulance, officials confirmed Thursday.
NEW YORK (AP) — As Americans prepared to celebrate the nation's 238th birthday, Hurricane Arthur forced several East Coast cities to switch the dates of their Fourth of July shows and officials in the drought-stricken West urged caution in setting off fireworks.
JULIAN, Calif. (AP) — Crews scrambled Thursday to corral a wildfire that burned two homes in Southern California and threatened hundreds of others as an older, larger blaze endangered more homes in rural Northern California.