Tropical Storm Might Send Holiday Travelers To The Mountains

Jul 2, 2014

A tropical storm could impact the Outer Banks this July 4th weekend. Asheville is getting ready for holiday travelers, and might see some people redirected by the storm.
Credit Ian Britton /

AAA is forecasting the busiest July 4th travel weekend since 2001, in part because of a recovering economy. But with a tropical storm headed toward the Outer Banks, travelers might end up making other plans.

It's not yet clear whether Tropical Storm Arthur will make landfall in North Carolina, but Dare County is readying its hurricane action plan, just in case.

On the other side of the state, tourism is up already in Asheville this summer.

Marla Tambellini of the Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau said she wouldn't be surprised if the storm drove more people their way.

“During the Fourth of July a lot of people lock in their vacation plans early,” Tambellini said. “But for those who haven't and are still making decisions, you know, the mountains may be seeing an up-tick in visitors in part because of that.”

The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the biggest draws to the mountains, but spokeswoman Lisa Brandon warned the roadway and overlooks will be more crowded than usual.

“Our tag line for safety on the parkway is, 'Enjoy the view but watch the road,'” Brandon said. “So, you know, drive safely, stay to the speed limit, and you'll be great. It'll be a great time.”

AAA Carolinas predicts more than 1 million North Carolinians will be traveling for the holiday this weekend.