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A weakened Hurricane Arthur was aimed at southern New England on Friday, wielding tropical storm-force winds, after an earlier landfall in North Carolina that caused only slight damage. The summer resort areas of Nantucket and Cape Cod, popular destinations for visitors over the long Fourth of July weekend, were issued tropical storm warnings by the National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center, which predicted powerful winds and several inches of rain. Arthur was expected to bring rain and winds of tropical storm strength, or 39 to 73 miles per hour, to the Massachusetts coast. State officials said there was minimal damage from the storm, the earliest in the season to hit North Carolina since records began in 1851. Arthur hit with top sustained winds of 100 mph, earning a Category 2 status on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale. It weakened to a Category 1 as it moved northeast into colder waters of the Atlantic Ocean with 90-mph top sustained winds.



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