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Tropical Storm Danny weakens off US East Coast

TROPICAL Storm Danny weakened in the Atlantic today but could produce dangerous surf conditions and life-threatening rip currents along the US East Coast in the next day or two, the US National Hurricane Center said.

Now barely a tropical storm, Danny's maximum sustained winds fell to 64 kilometers per hour, with the strongest winds confined to the northeast of the storm's eye, the Hurricane Center said in its 5 am advisory.

"There is small opportunity for slight restrengthening today," it added. Danny is the fourth tropical storm of the 2009 Atlantic season. Tropical storms have maximum sustained winds ranging from 63-118 kph.

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

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

Danny was 643 km south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and was moving north-northwest near 14.5 kph. A turn to the north with increased forward speed was expected later today, forecasters said.

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.


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