The soon-to-be Hurricane Arthur, the first named storm of the Atlantic Hurricane season, is threatening to put a damper on Bristol’s 4th of July celebration.
The first tropical depression of the season is currently spinning off the coast of South Florida. It is expected to become Tropical Storm Arthur this afternoon, and continue to strengthen into a category 1 hurricane by Thursday night. A depression becomes a tropical storm when sustained winds reach 39 mph; a hurricane when sustained winds reach 74 mph.
The storm is forecast to drift north-northeast, passing off Rhode Island’s coast late Friday night into early Saturday morning. While the storm is not currently expected to make a direct impact on Rhode Island (though the state is in the National Hurricane Center’s cone of probability), it is expected to affect weather in the area Friday, just in time for the 4th of July.
A cold front moving over the area Thursday will bring showers and thunderstorms Thursday into Friday. That front — which is pulling Arthur northward — will mix with warm, tropical air and moisture ahead of Arthur, potentially creating strong storms and torrential downpours Thursday night through Friday afternoon, according to WPRI Channel 12 meteorologist Tony Petrarca.
What this means for the 4th of July celebration has yet to be determined. The parade is scheduled to step off at 10 a.m. Friday. Ray Lavey, general chairman of this year’s celebration, said there is no contingency plan for the parade should conditions force its cancellation. While rain won’t necessarily stop the parade, dangerous conditions would, Lavey said. Bristol Police Chief Josue Canario, Fire Chief Robert Martin and Town Manager Antonio Teixeira would meet to determine whether the parade can safely step off. If they decide it cannot, the parade would be canceled for the first time in its 229 year history.
Check back with eastbayri.com for more updates on the storm and its potential impact on the 4th of July as they become available.