August 28, 2009 / 9:55 AM / 10 years ago

Tropical Storm Danny weakens off U.S. East Coast

MIAMI (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Danny weakened in the Atlantic on Friday but could produce dangerous surf conditions and life-threatening rip currents along the U.S. East Coast in the next day or two, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Tropical Storm Danny moves through the Atlantic in a satellite image taken August 27, 2009. REUTERS/NOAA/Handout

Now barely a tropical storm, Danny’s maximum sustained winds fell to 40 miles per hour, with the strongest winds confined to the southeast of the storm’s eye, the hurricane center said.

Danny is the fourth tropical storm of the 2009 Atlantic season. Tropical storms have maximum sustained winds ranging from 39 to 73 mph.

Forecasters said most tracking models kept the heart of the storm away from the U.S. East Coast. But there were storm alerts for the North Carolina coast, and residents from the Carolinas to New England and the Canadian Maritime provinces were urged to monitor Danny.

The storm could bring blustery weather by the weekend to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, where U.S. President Barack Obama is vacationing this week and to Boston, where Senator Edward Kennedy’s funeral is scheduled for Saturday.

Danny was 330 miles south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, at 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT), the hurricane center said. It was moving north at 6 mph and was expected to turn toward the northeast on Sunday.

On that course, Danny would pass near the Outer Banks of North Carolina overnight, approach the New England coast late Saturday and move over Nova Scotia and Newfoundland on Sunday.

Tropical storms and hurricanes are tracked closely by energy traders concerned about disruptions to oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico and Canada’s Atlantic region, and by commodities traders for damage to citrus, cotton and other crops.

Pricing of insurance-linked securities, which transfer insurance risks associated with natural disasters to capital markets investors, and can be used to hedge other weather risk exposures, can also be affected by the future path of a storm.

Forecasters were also monitoring a mass of thunderstorms in the Atlantic about 850 miles west-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands, and gave it a 30 percent to 50 percent chance of developing into a tropical cyclone in the next two days. It was forecast to move west-northwest but it was far too early to tell whether it would threaten land or energy operations.

Reporting by Jane Sutton; editing by Jim Loney and Mohammad Zargham

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