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"Our cottage was right on the sound and we didn't want that back-current surge coming in and flooding us out," said Donald Unmussig, 50.
"I just didn't want to risk getting caught there. I have to work Monday morning. I didn't want to be late," he added. "We just decided to cut the losses and go home and not have to deal with the problems."
Tropical storm warnings were also in effect for coastal areas of Virginia and as far north as Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
On the Massachusetts island of Nantucket, no evacuations were planned, but residents who have lived through many a fierce storm said they know better than to totally relax.
"I think that for the most part it's another storm, but you never know what can happen," said Rocky Fox, who owns the Chicken Box nightclub on the island. "Being the Fourth of July weekend, things seems to be magnified."
Fox said Nantucket residents are used to being prepared.
"Mother Nature was upset with us this winter, and she may not be through. We're on an island. You can never tell what it's going to do. You prepare for the worst and hope for the best."
Early Friday morning, Arthur was located about 40 miles (60 kilometers) north-northeast of Cape Lookout and about 40 miles west-southwest of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. It was moving northeast at 18 mph (30 kph).