More than 22,000 Americans were without power at the start of the July 4 holiday after Hurricane Arthur scythed through North Carolina's Outer Banks early Friday.
Thousands more had already fled in preparation for the Category 2 storm, which has seen maximum sustained wind speeds of 100 miles per hour, lashings of rain and a storm surge of up to five feet.
Arthur is not only the first hurricane this season, but also the first to hit the United States since Sandy caused $70 billion damage across New Jersey and New York in October 2012.
The storm crossed the coast at Cape Lookout on the southern end of the Outer Banks at 11:15 p.m. Thursday, but by 4:30 a.m. the eye was back out over the Atlantic.
"Although there has been heavy rain and high winds, the saving grace is that is moving quite quickly back out over the ocean, at 21-22 miles per hour," Roy Lucksinger, principal meteorologist at The Weather Channel said. "It's a real shame for the people vacationing in the Outer Banks, but people on the mainland have not been hit as hard and by Friday afternoon they should even see some sunshine."