Tropical Storm Arthur 1996

Preliminary Report
Tropical Storm Arthur
17 - 23 June 1996


Tropical Storm Arthur (TS)
Hurricane Bertha (3)
Hurricane Cesar (1)
Hurricane Dolly (1)
Hurricane Edouard (4)
Hurricane Fran (3)
Tropical Storm Gustav (TS)
Hurricane Hortense (4)
Hurricane Isidore (3)
Tropical Storm Josephine (TS)
Tropical Storm Kyle (TS)
Hurricane Lili (3)
Hurricane Marco (1)

Arthur was a minimal tropical storm that brought locally heavy rains to coastal areas of the Carolinas. There was no significant damage.


a. Synoptic History

Satellite imagery showed an increase in cloudiness and showers just east of the Bahamas on 16 June. This activity may have been associated with a tropical wave that brought pressure falls to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic on the previous day. On the 17th, increased organization of the system at low levels was observed in surface data, animation of satellite imagery and the first aircraft reconnaissance reports. The best track indicates that the Atlantic's first tropical depression of the year formed from this system at 1800 UTC, centered near the eastern end of Grand Bahama Island. The depression initially moved toward the north-northwest to north, steered by the low-level flow around the western periphery of the Atlantic subtropical ridge. The depression experienced considerable shear at this time due to strong upper-level winds associated with a cold low over the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

Deep convection increased in a small area mainly to the north of the center on 18 June. The depression became Tropical Storm Arthur at 0000 UTC on the 19th, based on analysis of reconnaissance data. Maximum winds of 46 mph are based on a ship report received on this day. The storm began to turn more toward the northeast with time.

Arthur's center crossed over Cape Lookout, North Carolina near 0000 UTC 20 June. As the storm continued moving toward the northeast, locally heavy rains occurred over portions of the Carolinas in advance of the cyclone's center. The center moved over the Pamlico Sound and the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and exited into the Atlantic. Satellite imagery indicated that the storm had a very well-defined low-level circulation with minimal deep convection. It is likely that most of the tropical storm force winds associated with Arthur remained offshore over the Atlantic waters. The tropical storm weakened to a tropical depression about 100 nautical miles northeast of Cape Hatteras.

Arthur began moving toward the east-northeast and accelerated when westerly steering currents increased on the 20th. Deep convection developed on 21 June, but the cloud pattern was not very symmetrical in appearance, suggesting that the system was losing tropical characteristics. Forward motion increased to greater than 40 mph and Arthur became an extratropical gale at 1200 UTC 21 June while centered about 350 nautical miles north-northeast of Bermuda. The remnant of Arthur was tracked for another 36 hours and was last identified about midway between Newfoundland and the Azores, where it was absorbed by a much larger extratropical low over the North Atlantic.

b. Meteorological Statistics

Intensity estimates derived from satellite data never exceeded 40 mph. The maximum wind reported by U.S. Air Force reserve aircraft was 52 mph at a flight-level of 1500 feet at 0023 UTC 19 June. The ship Atlantic Huron reported a sustained wind of 48 mph at 1500 UTC 19 June while located 35 nautical miles southeast of the cyclone's center. The C-MAN station at Frying Pan Shoals reported sustained winds of 39 mph and a gust to 46 mph at 1700 UTC on 19 June. This automated reporting station is located about 30 nautical miles southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and the winds were measured at an elevation of approximately 80 feet. A sustained wind of 38 mph and a gust to 45 mph were reported from Ocracoke Island on the North Carolina Outer Banks at 0512 UTC 20 June.

1. Storm Surge

Surf as high as 5 to 7 feet occurred off the North Carolina coast in the vicinity of Cape Lookout. No significant beach erosion was reported.

2. Rainfall Data

The largest rainfall total, 5 inches, occurred in Georgetown County, South Carolina. Several areas over the coastal plains of South Carolina and North Carolina reported between 2 and 4 inches.

c. Casualty and Damage Statistics

No reports of casualties or significant damage associated with Arthur have been received at the NHC.

Maximum Intensity For Tropical Storm Arthur
17 - 23 June, 1996

Position Pressure
Wind Speed
Lat. (°N) Lon. (°W)
22/1800 42.5 40.0 992 50 Extratropical Storm

Landfall for Tropical Storm Arthur
17 - 23 June, 1996
Wind Speed
Stage Landfall
20/0000 1005 40 Tropical Storm Cape Lookout,
North Carolina