Arthur an unwanted visitor this Fourth

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We’re bracing for a different kind of sky spectacle this Fourth of July.

Arthur, a tropical storm that likely will soon be a hurricane, is an unwanted traveler on the upcoming holiday weekend.

It feels wrong even to be talking about hurricanes so early in the season, but Arthur could be a Category 1 as it brushes the North Carolina Outer Banks and coastline.

Veteran storm watchers don’t get as worked up about Category 1 hurricanes as they do for the devastating blows of Category 4 or 5. But there are plenty of reasons to take Arthur seriously, especially considering the high number of people who are likely to be visiting North Carolina beaches this weekend.

If you plan to visit the coast, apply the same rule of thumb to hurricanes as you would to fireworks: Don’t do anything stupid.

Pay attention to weather forecasts. Keep plenty of bottled water, canned goods and flashlights on hand. Fill up the fuel tank of your vehicle. Be ready to evacuate quickly, if instructed to do so.

If you’re renting a place to stay and your landlord did not offer you insurance, he or she must refund you for unused days in the event of a mandatory evacuation, according to the N.C. Attorney General’s office. If he did offer you insurance and you chose not to buy it, then you won’t get your money back under those circumstances.

North Carolina’s strong price gouging law also is in effect, since a state of emergency has been declared. The law protects you from unscrupulous workers in the aftermath of a disaster.

Here’s hoping Arthur turns east and heads out to sea, but take steps to be safe, regardless.