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By Tim Stelloh

As the first named hurricane of the season softened to a tropical storm, Danny was expected to remain relatively weak as it churned toward the Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico on Sunday.

The storm was a little more than 200 miles east of Guadeloupe on Sunday afternoon, according to the National Hurricane Center. Weather Channel meteorologist Tom Moore told NBC News that Danny was no longer forecast to unleash the 100-mph-plus winds that had been expected Friday.

Instead, Moore said, 50-mph winds and 2 to 4 inches of rain were anticipated.

"It's a small storm," Moore told NBC News. Although there could be some minor, localized flooding, he said, "you're not going to get damaging winds."

By Monday night, Moore said, the storm was expected to make landfall in parched Puerto Rico, where residents were hopeful it would diminish the severe drought that has engulfed nearly half of the island.

"We're asking God to bring us water and not destruction," Gloria Rodriguez, 88, told The Associated Press. "This is what we're all hoping for."

The storm was expected to continue to weaken as it headed west to the Dominican Republic on Tuesday, then Haiti on Tuesday night, Moore said.

"The thing to watch out with Haiti — it's totally deforested," he said. "Any heavy rain could be problematic."