The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the season's latest storm, Ophelia, has weakened to "tropical storm" status as it hovers off the U.S. Atlantic coast.

Ophelia's winds dropped to about 115 kilometers an hour Monday, just below hurricane level (119 kph).   But residents of both North and South Carolina remain wary, as it could regain strength.  The storm's path is uncertain.

Officials are taking extra precautions after the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina, which hit the U.S. Gulf Coast two weeks ago.

There is a hurricane watch along 400 kilometers of the east coast.  The governor of North Carolina has declared a state of emergency and ordered tourists to leave an island in the state's Outer Banks chain. 

Some information for this story provided by AP and Reuters.