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Carolinas Keep Watch On Hurricane Ophelia

Officials in the U.S. eastern coastal states of North and South Carolina are keeping a close watch on Hurricane Ophelia, which continues its slow drift from the Atlantic Ocean toward land.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Ophelia is now 350 kilometers southeast of Charleston, South Carolina.

The storm is a weak hurricane (Category One on the five-point scale used in the United States) with maximum sustained winds of 120 kilometers per hour. Weather forecasters expect the storm to move slowly toward the northwest on Monday.

Officials are taking precautions in the wake of the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina.

A hurricane watch has been declared for a 400-kilometer stretch of the U.S. east coast. And the North Carolina Governor, Mike Easley, has declared a state of emergency. The governor has ordered all tourists to leave a low-lying island in the state's Outer Banks region.