Tropical storm could become 2014’s first hurricane

Tropical Storm Arthur is churning off Florida’s east coast as of Wednesday morning, but forecasters expect it to travel up the coast and potentially become the first hurricane of 2014.

Arthur was about 90 miles east-southeast of Cape Canaveral, Fla., Tuesday night, with maximum sustained winds of about 50 mph, CNN reported, citing the National Hurricane Center.

The storm must have sustained winds of 74 mph in order to be declared a hurricane.

Forecasters predict Arthur will start to move up the East Coast Wednesday, and it could hit North Carolina’s Outer Banks by Thursday night. It might eventually travel as far as Virginia.

The National Hurricane Center predicted up to 5 inches of rain throughout Wednesday in some parts of Florida, though 1-3 inches was more likely, CNN said.

Much of Eastern Florida was placed under a tropical storm watch Tuesday, meaning storm conditions would be likely within the next 24-26 hours.