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Felicia weakens to a Category 2 storm as it nears Central Pacific


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POSTED: Friday, August 07, 2009

Felicia is now a Category 2 hurricane, dropping two levels on the intensity scale since yesterday.

The storm, with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph, was 1,190 miles east of Hilo at 11 a.m. today, according to the National Hurricane Center. Hurricane-force winds extend 35 miles from its center, while tropical storm-force winds extend 90 miles.

The five-day forecast has Felicia as a tropical storm or depression when it reaches the Big Island late Monday or early Tuesday, and as a tropical depression or remnant low as it passes south of Oahu later Tuesday.

Officials caution that Hawaii residents should continue monitoring the storm over the next few days.

The hurricane is expected to move into the Central Pacific on Saturday when it will hit cooler waters and weaken to a tropical storm, forecasters said.

Felicia peaked as a Category 4 storm Thursday with winds topping 140 mph, making it the strongest hurricane in the Eastern Pacific since Daniel in 2006.