MIAMI --The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Wednesday afternoon that the storm is about 305 miles (490 kilometers) east-northeast of the northern Leeward Islands.

The storm is moving toward the west about 15 miles per hour (24

kph) and is expected to stay to the north of the Lesser Antilles.

Its maximum sustained winds have dropped to near 40 mph (65 kph)

with higher gusts.

Forecasters say the eighth named storm of the Atlantic season is

expected to dissipate by Thursday.

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