The storm that has been battering the North Carolina coast for the past couple of days has been downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm.

At 8pm Eastern time, the National Hurricane Center puts Ophelia's center about 45 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras. It's drifting east at about five miles per hour and is expected to pick up some speed tomorrow. Top sustained winds are 70 miles per hour, that's four miles per hour below hurricane strength.

A tropical storm warning extends from Cape Lookout, North Carolina, northward to Cape Charles Light, Virginia, including the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.

Utilities say more than 48,000 homes and businesses in eastern North Carolina remain without power.

It appears the mainland has dodged the severe flooding many had feared, but the wind and waves have taken a toll.