A weakened Arthur churns toward Nova Scotia - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

A weakened Arthur churns toward Nova Scotia

A tree in Morehead City, NC, was split in half by Hurricane Arthur, which struck the state late Thursday and early Friday. (Source: Mark Davenport/WBTV) A tree in Morehead City, NC, was split in half by Hurricane Arthur, which struck the state late Thursday and early Friday. (Source: Mark Davenport/WBTV)
Coastal watches and warnings as well as the 5-day forecast cone at 11 p.m. ET Friday. (Source: NWS) Coastal watches and warnings as well as the 5-day forecast cone at 11 p.m. ET Friday. (Source: NWS)
(RNN) - Hurricane Arthur continues to weaken as it tracks up the East Coast, leaving what was initially described as "minimal damage" in  North Carolina, where it made landfall Thursday night.

The storm was downgraded to a Category 1 and currently has maximum sustained winds of 75 mph. Forecasters predicted it would further weaken to a post-tropical cyclone by Saturday.

However, tropical storm warnings are in effect for Nantucket, Cape Code, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick from the U.S.-Canada border to Grand Anse. Coastal flooding is possible along Cape Code and 2 to 4 inches of rain are expected over eastern Massachusetts, coastal Maine and Nova Scotia.

The storm landed between Cape Lookout and Beaufort, NC, around 11:15 p.m. Thursday as a Category 2 hurricane. Packing 100 mile per hour winds, it set a record for the earliest hurricane to hit the state since record keeping began in 1851. The previous record held more than 100 years, being set on July 11, 1901.

“Although preliminary reports are very positive, it is going to take us a few days to fully comprehend the full impact of Hurricane Arthur,” North Carolina Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry said. “We are working with local officials to conduct damage assessments and will continue to support counties with resource requests and recovery efforts.”

Strong winds knocked down trees, damaged homes and caused power outages for more than 44,000 people. Helicopter footage over the Outer Banks, NC, showed extensive flooding, but less than many anticipated. No casualties were reported from the storm.

The storm passed quickly and by Friday, sun returned over the beach towns hoping to salvage some of the Fourth of July weekend.

"The North Carolina beaches are open for business," Gov. Pat McCrory said Friday.

However, Hatteras Island, evacuated Thursday ahead of Arthur, remains closed.

The 11 p.m. ET advisory from the National Weather Service stated Arthur was located about 75 miles east-southeast of Chatham, MA. The storm was moving northeast at 31 mph.

The storm is expected to pass over Nova Scotia early Saturday and the Gulf of St. Lawrence Saturday night.

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