The storm made landfall over the Outer Banks of North Carolina Thursday evening as a Category 2 storm, leaving thousands without power. The eye of Hurricane Arthur passed over Cape Lookout in the Outer Banks at 11:15 p.m. Thursday and later moved over the mainland Dare County with heavy winds and pounding rain.
The storm-nearly 400 miles wide-dumped four inches of rain in parts of North Carolina and a four-foot storm surge was reported in the Neusse River in Bachelor, North Carolina.
ABC11 iWitness Photo"/> ABC11 iWitness Photo"/>
Although there were no immediate reports of injuries, the storm knocked out power to more than 21,000 people in North Carolina.
After the storm moved back into the Atlantic, a tropical storm warning remained for parts of North Carolina, Virginia and both Cape Cod and Nantucket.
In addition to the hurricane's wind and rain, a tornado was reported in Rose Hill, a 1,600-population town north of Wilmington. Resident Jose Trejo's ceiling collapsed just as he got his family out of the way.
"The first thing that went through my mind was to get my kids," he said.
The rain slammed Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.
Meteorologists expect Arthur to weaken as it moves northeast and hits colder water.
Arthur may not have spent a lot of time in North Carolina, but the Independence Day landfall is the earliest date a hurricane has struck North Carolina since records began in 1851.
As the storm continues to pummel the East Coast, millions of Americans have been forced to shift their holiday plans. Before the storm hit, tourism officials had expected 250,000 people to travel to the Outer Banks for the holiday weekend.
Many vacationers were forced to pack up their belongings and head home.
The annual Boston Pops Fourth of July concert and fireworks show were held Thursday night because of potential heavy rain from Arthur, while fireworks displays in New Jersey, Maine and New Hampshire were postponed until later in the weekend.
North Carolina residents prepared for the storm, boarding up their windows for safety.
Lifeguards displayed flags to warn swimmers of the strong rip currents and even after the storm officials are warning that strong rip tides could make swimming dangerous at North Carolina beaches.
Waves pounded the shoreline.
Surfers embraced the wave activity, making the most of Arthur's fury.