Tropical Storm Maria: Path keeps large storm off the East Coast

Maria weakened to a tropical storm and continued on a path that will keep its center  offshore while bringing tropical storm force winds to North Carolina.

Maria’s winds dropped to 70 mph winds on Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center. 

Tropical Storm Maria, at left, was losing organization on Tuesday while smaller Hurricane Lee, at right, was strengthening. (NWS) 

In addition there’s the possibility of storm surge along parts of the Outer Banks, and a storm surge warning was issued for some areas.

As of the 7 p.m. CDT advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Tropical Storm Maria was located about 155 miles east-southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C., and was moving north at 7 mph.

A tropical storm warning remains in effect along the North Carolina coast from Bogue Inlet to the Virginia border as well as Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

In addition, a storm surge warning has now been issued from Ocracoke Inlet to Cape Hatteras.

Storm surge watches have been upgraded to warnings along parts of the North Carolina coast. (NHC) 

A storm surge watch remains in effect from Cape Lookout to west of Ocracoke Inlet and from north of Cape Hatteras to Duck. The hurricane center said storm surge flooding, especially along the sound side of the North Carolina Outer Banks, will be possible starting later today.

One of the most widespread effects from Maria is dangerous surf. Forecasters said waves from the storm are affecting beaches from Florida through southern New England. Rough surf and deadly rip currents will be possible over the next few days.

Maria has weakened after moving over cooler waters that former Hurricane Jose stirred up last week.

The hurricane center is forecasting Maria to turn to the north-northeast on Wednesday, then northeast, and pick up speed. That should keep the center of the storm well away from the coast.

There is one other storm in the Atlantic on Tuesday: Hurricane Lee.

As of Tuesday afternoon Lee was located about 625 miles east-southeast of Bermuda and was moving west at 8 mph.

Lee is no threat to land.

Hurricane Lee’s winds increased to 110 mph, making it a Category 2 hurricane, and could become a major hurricane (Category 3 or stronger) before beginning to weaken on Thursday, the hurricane center said.

Lee is a small hurricane. Its strongest winds extended outward only 25 miles from the center, and tropical storm force winds extended outward only 60 miles.

Hurricane Lee is not a threat to land….

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