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Sputtering Danielle weakens to tropical storm, still no threat to land

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • NEW: Danielle weakens to a tropical storm far out in the Atlantic
  • Earlier, Danielle unexpectedly decreased to a Category 1 hurricane
  • Danielle currently poses no threat to land
  • The National Hurricane Center said it could re-strengthen during the next two days

(CNN) -- What had been Hurricane Danielle weakened to a tropical storm Tuesday, losing steam as it churned through the middle of the Atlantic far from land, the National Hurricane Center reported.

As of the hurricane center's 5 p.m. update, Danielle -- which was the second hurricane of the 2010 Atlantic season and which had reached Category 2 hurricane strength before beginning to weaken -- was moving to the west-northwest with maximum sustained winds near 70 mph, below the 74-95 mph required for it to be considered a Category 1 hurricane.

Earlier Tuesday the hurricane center warned that "re-strengthening is possible during the next 48 hours," and also noted that the weakening to a tropical storm was expected to be temporary.

Danielle was forecast to take a turn to the northwest and slow down from its current 18 mph forward speed within the next couple of days.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the storm was 895 miles east of the Leeward Islands, and the hurricane center said it's unlikely that Danielle will threaten any land. Tracking maps on the hurricane center's website showed the system heading well to the east of North America and, most likely, even east of Bermuda.

Hurricane Alex, the first hurricane of the season, sent thousands in northeastern Mexico to shelters in late June and early July.