Arthur strengthens to Category 2 hurricane as it nears North Carolina

MIAMI, July 3 Thu Jul 3, 2014 9:28pm EDT

MIAMI, July 3 (Reuters) - Hurricane Arthur was upgraded to a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds at 100 miles per hour (160 kilometres per hour), the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Thursday evening.

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. (Reporting By David Adams; Editing by Doina Chiacu)