The Latest: Hurricane Dorian weakens to Category 1 storm

WILMINGTON, N.C. — The Latest on Hurricane Dorian (all times local):

5 a.m.

The eye of Hurricane Dorian is passing just east of Cape Lookout as the Category 1 storm skirts North Carolina's coast.

Sustained, hurricane-force winds are battering the southern Outer Banks, a 200-mile-long (320-kilometer-long) chain of low-lying barrier islands and spits off North Carolina. The center of the storm is around 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of Cape Lookout and 55 miles (89 kilometers) southwest of Cape Hatteras, further north in the Outer Banks.

Top sustained winds are near 90 mph (145 kph) and the storm is moving northeast at 14 mph (22 kph).

As of 5 a.m., the National Hurricane Center replaced a hurricane warning with a tropical storm warning from South Santee River to Little River Inlet in South Carolina. The storm-surge warning south of Surf City, North Carolina, has been discontinued.

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4:15 a.m.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami is reporting hurricane-force wind gusts along the southern Outer Banks of North Carolina.

A weather station at Cape Lookout on the southern end of the chain of low-lying islands recently reported a 10-minute average wind of 63 mph (101 kph), equivalent to a 1-minute sustained wind speed of 69 mph (111 kph). A wind gust of 75 mph (121 kph) was also reported, but the weather station inside the western part of Dorian's eye hasn't reported data since 3 a.m.

Dorian's center is around 15 miles (24 kilometers) south of Cape Lookout, and around 80 miles (129 kilometers) southwest of Cape Hatteras, further north on the string of barrier islands and spits.

The Category 1 storm's top sustained winds remain at 90 mph (145 kph) and the storm is still moving northeast at 14 mph (22 kph).

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3:10 a.m.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami is reporting hurricane-force winds "just offshore" Cape Lookout, part of the low-lying islands that make up North Carolina's Outer Banks.

The Category 1 storm is located around 25 miles (40 kilometers) south-southwest of Cape Lookout, and around 90 miles (145 kilometers) southwest of Cape Hatteras, further north on the string of barrier islands and spits.

Top sustained winds remain at 90 mph (145 kph) and the storm is moving northeast at 14 mph (23 kph).

The storm is expected to weaken slowly over the next few days, but will likely remain a powerful hurricane as it moves along the coast of North Carolina.

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2 a.m.

Hurricane Dorian has weakened somewhat to a Category 1 storm, but forecasters say the threat posed to the southeastern U.S. coast hasn't abated.

Dorian is currently 55 miles (89 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina, and 30 miles (48 kilometers) south-southwest of Cape Lookout, North Carolina, and moving northeast at 15 mph (24 kph). The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says that general motion is expected to continue, with an increase in speed through Saturday.

The center of the storm will move near or over the coast of North Carolina over the next several hours, before moving to the "southeast of extreme southeastern New England" on Friday night and Saturday morning and then across Nova Scotia.

A storm surge warning has been discontinued south of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, but flooding remains possible in parts of North Carolina depending on the tide and the storm's distance from the coast.

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1:40 a.m.

After triggering tornadoes in South Carolina, Hurricane Dorian is closing in for a possible direct hit Friday on North Carolina's Outer Banks, a string of low-lying islands.

On Ocracoke Island, near the southern end of the 200-mile-long (322-kilometer-long) string of barrier islands and spits, about half of the 1,000 residents have stuck around to face the storm.

Further north, Virginia was also in harm's way.

Overnight winds are expected to cause trees and branches to fall on power lines, and debris could block repair crews from accessing damaged line.

As of early Friday, Dorian was centered about 40 miles (64 kilometers) east-northeast of Wilmington, North Carolina and had weakened to a Category 1 storm. With maximum sustained winds of 90 mph (145 kph), Dorian was moving northeast at 15 mph (24 kph).

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For more of AP's coverage of Hurricane Dorian, go to: https://apnews.com/Hurricanes

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