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Ahead of July Fourth, a tropical storm off Florida

Beachgoers enjoy the high surf and currents generated by Tropical Storm Arthur off Daytona Beach on Tuesday.

Associated Press

Beachgoers enjoy the high surf and currents generated by Tropical Storm Arthur off Daytona Beach on Tuesday.

SAVANNAH, Ga. — With the July Fourth weekend on the horizon, the Atlantic hurricane season's first named storm plodded off Florida's coast Tuesday night, though Arthur wasn't yet spooking too many in the storm's potential path.

"I think everybody's keeping one eye on the weather and one eye on the events this weekend," said Joe Marinelli, president of Visit Savannah, the city's tourism bureau.

A tropical storm watch was in effect for a swath of Florida's east coast. The National Hurricane Center in Miami urged those as far north as parts of Virginia to monitor Arthur's path. The center predicted it would become a hurricane by Thursday.

On Tuesday night, forecasters said the storm was about 90 miles off the coast of Cape Canaveral, and its maximum sustained winds had increased to about 50 mph. The storm was stationary but was expected to drift toward the northwest.

Off Florida's Space Coast beaches — the closest to Arthur — the sky was cloudy and winds fairly normal, said Eisen Witcher, assistant chief of Brevard County Ocean Rescue.

Red flags warned of rough surf, and beachgoers were advised to get into the water only in areas with staffed lifeguard stands. But overall, Witcher said, "it's business as usual."

Ahead of July Fourth, a tropical storm off Florida 07/01/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 1, 2014 10:48pm]

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