Hurricane Maria could cause risky currents along United States coast

Hurricane Maria Could Cause Dangerous Rip Currents Along East Coast

Hurricane Maria Could Cause Dangerous Rip Currents Along East Coast

Hurricane Maria has rolled back into the Atlantic Ocean after demolishing Puerto Rico - and now may be headed north toward the shores of North Carolina, forecasters warned Sunday. The projection cone sees the system in the open Atlantic about half way between SC and Bermuda by next Tuesday.

On Sunday afternoon the storm is about 425 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras.

As it is, Maria is forecast to be parallel to Cape Hatteras by Thursday as a minimal hurricane with top winds of around 75 miles per hour. But it said hurricane or tropical storm watches might only stay in effect for a portion of the coast later Sunday.

Since battering the Turks and Caicos Islands yesterday, Maria has moved away from land, and there are no coastal warnings or watches in effect as of the hurricane center's 8 a.m. update, though residents of the Bahamas are advised to keep an eye on the storm.

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Hurricane Lee, meanwhile, was strengthening, with maximum sustained winds up to 90 miles per hour.

Swells from Maria will affect the southeastern coast of the United States, causing rip currents and life-threatening surf through the weekend. The rain forecast from Maria is now 1-3 inches, and moderate ocean overwash in vulnerable areas is probable with the potential for 1-3 feet of inundation above ground from coastal flooding.

"Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 36 to 48 hours and Lee could be near major hurricane strength on Monday", the NHC said. The tiny storm was generating hurricane-force winds that extended only 10 miles from its center. So even if the center of the storm passes offshore, it could still bring blustery weather to the Outer Banks by mid-week.

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