Hurricane Arthur
Hurricane Arthur is seen moving up the east coast of the United States in an image taken from NOAA's Goes-East satellite at 17:12EDT (21:12GMT) Reuters

Packing winds of 100mph, Hurricane Arthur has made landfall in North Carolina after reaching Category Two storm status, wrecking the 4 July holiday plans of thousands of Americans.

The eye of the first hurricane of the season lay between North Carolina's Cape Lookout and Beaufort at about 11:15pm local time while the storm continues to barrel northeast at about 15mph.

Warnings to holidaymakers and residents along the North Carolina coast up to the Virginia border are in place.

The tropical storm was upgraded to Hurricane status and later raised to a Category Two storm on the same day (Thursday – 3 July) suggesting that winds up to 96mph were expected.

"We did not expect this western movement. So we're most concerned now about flooding inland and storm surges in our sounds and in our rivers," North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory told reporters prior to the landfall.

Thousands of people have already left the region and altered their Independence Day plans.

"Although the current forecast doesn't indicate this will be a major impact, we are taking it very seriously. I don't want you to put at risk not only yourself but also people who may try to help you," said McCrory.

Widespread power outage, torrential rain and rip currents are expected to be caused by Arthur.

While there are no reports of any immediate casualties, some counties are said to have suffered minor damage.

Hurricane Arthur
Surfer Ben Powell of Ocean Isle Beach rides a large wave during the effects of Hurricane Arthur, in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina Reuters
Hurricane Arthur
Surfers Robert Drew, from left, Brad Thomas, Tim Duncan, Pate Futch, and Benjamin Hewett, wait for good waves outside an arcade during Hurricane Arthur, in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina Reuters