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Hurricane Maria moves toward East Coast; tropical storm warning issued in North Carolina

NORTH CAROLINA — Hurricane Maria weakened a bit over the weekend, and on Monday was a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph.

The hurricane is centered about 350 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and is moving north at 7 mph.

A tropical storm warning is in effect from Cape Lookout, North Carolina, to Duck, North Carolina, including the Albemarie and Pamlico sounds. A tropical storm watch is in effect from Surf City, North Carolina, to Cape Lookout, North Carolina, and from the North Carolina-Virginia state line to Duck, North Carolina.

Maria will continue on a northward path over the next couple of days as it passes between Bermuda and the United States. Swells generated by Maria will cause rough seas and surf for much of the East Coast over the next several days; mariners should seek safe harbor and beachgoers will need to be aware of the dangerous surf and a high rip current risk. The rough seas and surf will also affect Bermuda and the Bahamas.

By Tuesday night into Wednesday, Maria will make a close pass to Cape Hatteras. While the center of Maria will stay offshore, some of the outer rainbands and gusty winds will impact far eastern North Carolina during this time.

Wind gusts can reach 60 mph near Cape Hatteras, and 40 mph across the rest of the Outer Banks northward to the far southern part of the Delmarva Peninsula. Rainfall of 2-4 inches across the Outer Banks, combined with a storm surge of 1-3 feet will lead to flooding. Persistent easterly winds farther north into southeastern Virginia will lead to some coastal flooding, particularly around the time of high tide. A slower or farther west forecast track of the hurricane would lead to more serious impacts.

Maria will then be steered eastward and out to sea during the second half of the week by a cold front moving through the eastern part of the United States.

The long period of rough pounding surf will lead to considerable beach erosion for parts of the East Coast, particularly for the Outer Banks and into coastal southeastern Virginia, where more direct effects of Maria will be felt.

Over the next few days, all interests along the East Coast of the United States, as well as Bermuda should continue to carefully monitor Maria, and check back with AccuWeather.com for frequent
updates.

Lee is a Category 1 hurricane far away over the central Atlantic, about 900 miles east of Bermuda. Lee is forecast to remain a hurricane over the next several days, but will pose no threat to land. After a few days of very slow movement, Lee will recurve into the northern Atlantic later this week.