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Posted: Monday, August 13th, 2007 4:49 AM HST

Hurricane Flossie, on a path toward Hawaii, expected to weaken

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) _ Forecasters say Hurricane Flossie will likely maintain its hurricane strength as it approaches Hawaii this week.

The Category 4 storm's winds weakened slightly to 135 miles per hour, and it was expected to pass south of the island of Hawaii late tomorrow.

But even a slight change of course in the unpredictable storm could bring it closer to land.

At 5 yesterday afternoon, Flossie was 665 miles east-southeast of Hilo, and had maximum sustained wind near 135 miles per hour with gusts reaching 161. It was traveling west at about 14 miles per hour.

Big Island Mayor Harry Kim says emergency workers mobilized this afternoon to prepare for the potentially devastating hurricane.

Two Air Force WC-130 hurricane tracker aircraft dispatched from Mississippi flew into the storm to gather measurements this afternoon.

They found that the storm is weakening at a slower rate than expected.

(Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved)

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