Photo: McDowell County 911/Emergency Management
(AP) - Tropical Storm Michael is drenching the Carolinas with heavy rains as it heads toward the Atlantic Ocean.
The National Hurricane Center says the storm's top sustained winds have dropped to 50 mph (85 kph).
At 11 a.m. EDT, the storm was centered about 35 miles (60 kilometers) south-southeast of Charlotte, North Carolina. It was expected to emerge over the ocean Thursday night.
Forecasters say Michael remains a large weather system, with tropical storm-force winds extending up to 185 miles (295 kilometers) from its center.
Michael could drop up to 7 inches (18 centimeters) over parts of the Carolinas and southeastern Virginia.