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Washington, Sep 14 (Prensa Latina) Tropical depression Isaac is moving towards the west of the Caribbean Sea at 26 kilometers per hour and will decrease its speed of translation during the next few days, the National Hurricane Center of the United States reported.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles (165 km) from the center. Tropical storm watches are in effect for Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua, and Saba and St. Eustatius.

It is predicted the Carolinas could begin feeling tropical storm force winds late Wednesday or early Thursday.

The public is encouraged to continue monitoring the Met Office via its social media accounts and website at www.metoffice.gov.tt for updates. Later this week, the system could bring a swift spell of wind and rain to the eastern islands in the Caribbean.

Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 40 miles per hour (65 km/h) with higher gusts.

"We are entering the peak of hurricane season and we know well the unpredictability and power of these storms", Mr Cooper said. The hurricane center is giving the system a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm within the next five days.

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"Winds are likely to gust to 55-65 miles per hour quite widely in the warning area, with possible gusts of 70-80 miles per hour in exposure".

In the Atlantic, while Joyce is far out to sea and poses no immediate threat to land, 70-mph Helene is forecast to roar near the Azores on Saturday and Sunday, the National Hurricane Center said.

States of emergency were declared in the Carolinas; Virginia; Washington, DC; and Maryland, where some coastal areas are still recovering from summer storms.

Steered westward by high pressure to its north, Isaac is forecast to move through the Lesser Antilles today and tomorrow.

Despite the downgrade the National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned that "life-threatening storm surges" would continue into the night, predicting "catastrophic freshwater flooding" over parts of North and SC.

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