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Hurricane Bertha weakens as it moves toward Bermuda

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  • NEW: Storm weakens to Category 1 hurricane with 85 mph sustained winds
  • Eye turns slightly toward northwest in Atlantic trek
  • Bermuda could be affected this weekend; landfall in U.S. unlikely
  • Bertha is the first hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season
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MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- The first hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic season lost strength throughout Tuesday, dropping to a Category 1 storm with top wind speeds of 80 mph by late in the day, the National Hurricane Center reported.

No significant change in strength is forecast for Hurricane Bertha over the next day or two, according to the center.

As of 11 p.m., Bertha was about 580 miles (935 km) northeast of the northern Leeward Islands and about 840 miles (1,350 km) southeast of Bermuda. It was moving to the northwest at nearly 12 mph, and was expected to continue on the same track for the next 24 to 36 hours, forecasters said.

There is a very small chance Bertha will make landfall in the United States, the center said. Bermuda is likely to get no more than a glancing blow. Forecast maps show the storm passing east of the island.iReport.com: Are you ready for hurricane season?

Bertha's maximum sustained winds were clocked at 85 mph at 5 p.m. after blowing at 120 mph at 5 a.m."Large swells and high surf could begin to affect portions of Bermuda late tomorrow," the center said.

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The storm formed Thursday in the far eastern Atlantic, off the coast of Africa, near the southern Cape Verde Islands. It strengthened into a hurricane early Monday and at its peak, it became a Category 3 storm with top winds of 120 mph. See Bertha's projected path »

The first tropical storm of the season, Arthur, formed May 31 near the coast of Belize and dumped heavy rain on Central America and southern Mexico. Learn more about hurricanes »

All About Hurricanes and CyclonesBermuda

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