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Tropical Storm Helene has Azores in sights

Hurricane Helene weakened to a tropical storm Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said.

Helene started Thursday as a Category 2 hurricane, but has since lost wind speed. As of 11 p.m. EDT, it had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph.

The center of Helene was located 885 miles southwest of the Azores' Lajes Air Base, the NHC said. It was moving north at 21 mph.

Helene is projected to shift northeastward with an increase in forward speed in the coming days, forecasters said, crossing over or near the Azores late Saturday or Sunday.

The government of Portugal issued a tropical storm watch for the Azores Islands. Tropical storm-force winds extend outward from the eye of the storm up to 140 miles. The NHC said Helene could bring 2 inches to 4 inches of rain to the Azores with isolated amounts up to 8 inches and life-threatening flash flooding. Swells generated by the storm could produce life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.
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