Tropical Storm Arthur not expected to threaten Beaufort County

A tropical storm forming off the coast of Florida is expected to have minimal effect on Beaufort County, but emergency management officials are still monitoring the storm as it starts to push northward.

Tropical Storm Arthur is expected to begin moving past the Florida coast toward South Carolina on Wednesday but is expected to stay off the coast as it moves past Beaufort County, said National Weather Service meteorologist Melissa Mainhart.

Because the storm won't make landfall in the county, its effect may be limited to rip currents as it passes by Thursday, Mainhart said. Nonetheless, local emergency management officials said Tuesday they were monitoring the storm and reviewing their protocols.

"It's a good reminder to look at our policies, and hopefully a good reminder for residents to do the same," said Hilton Head Island emergency management director Thomas Dunn.

The local American Red Cross also was making preparations, taking inventory on available resources, volunteers and shelters, emergency-services specialist Carl Statham said. The Red Cross will remain on standby until it gets direction from the county's emergency management division, Statham said.

Designated a tropical storm Tuesday, Arthur is the first named storm of the year in the Atlantic Ocean. Its eye is expected to pass 120 miles off the Beaufort County coast, likely limiting its effects, Mainhart said. If the storm's course does push it closer to the coast, bands of rain are possible Thursday, she said.

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