The US National Hurricane Center has said that Hurricane Arthur was upgraded to a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds at 100 miles per hour (160 kilometres per hour).
Arthur was fast approaching the coastline of North Carolina and expected to make landfall late Thursday or early Friday morning, forecasters said as weather conditions deteriorated in the Outer Banks, where vacationers were forced to evacuate on the eve of the July 4 holiday.
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Florida police have charged a man who decided to eat his pancakes in the middle of the street with "placing an obstruction in the road".
The reason for the shooting is unclear, but local media have reported it may be a settling of scores between criminals.
Most parts of the country will experience near unbroken sunshine after a chilly start to the day.