Large swells on East Coast as Maria heads north

STORM-MARIA

Ocracoke and Hatteras islands have been forced to evacuate, ABC11 reported. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 240 miles.

Hurricane Maria is making a close pass to the North Carolina Outer Banks this week but is headed straight for a buoy webcam right now.

While Maria is now a Category 1 hurricane, it will likely be downgraded to a strong tropical storm by the time it reaches a point roughly 100 to 200 miles east of Cape Hatteras.

The latest forecast from the U.S. National Hurricane Center said, "Maria is moving toward the north near 7 miles per hour [11 km/h], and this general motion with some decrease in forward speed is expected through Tuesday night". A tropical storm warning means tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area.

Tropical storm force winds nearing the Outer Banks.

The National Hurricane Center issued a public advisory for Maria at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

The federal government will pick up 100 per cent of the costs of debris removal and other emergency assistance to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

"The latest track for Maria shows it loitering off our coast from later Tuesday through Thursday", said WRAL meteorologist Aimee Wilmoth.

Maria's economic cost to Puerto Rico could increase if the islands sees an exodus of residents fearful that water and power could be out for months, said Chuck Watson, of Enki Research.

Wrightsville Beach saw more than 25 rescues because of rip currents Saturday.

Large swells generated by Maria are affecting most of the East Coast of the U.S. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

The official forecast track continues to take Maria slowly to the north today and Tuesday.

After about four days, forecasters think the the area of high pressure to the east will pull back and allow Maria to curve more to the east and away from the coast.

The hurricane center said it is "likely that some direct impacts will occur along portions of the coast by midweek".

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