Hurricane Maria Could Get Very Close to the East Coast
As of 7pm eastern, Hurricane Maria remains a large and dangerous Category 3 storm, with winds of 115 MPH. Winds are gusting to 140 mph.
Its present location is about 450 miles to the east of the Florida coast. But the storm is so powerful, that dangerous rip currents are possible in Florida. High Surf Advisories are in effect for Florida’s east coast. 8-11 foot waves are possible on Sunday. Small Craft Advisories have also been posted.
As Maria travels northward over the next several days, it will gradually weaken, due to cooler ocean water temperatures. Wind shear will also help weaken the storm. By Wednesday, it’s expected to be a Category 1 storm.
Currently, the center of Maria is about 640 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. But the GFS forecast model, takes the center of circulation within 70 miles of North Carolina’s Outer Banks by Wednesday. This could be close enough to impact portions of eastern North Carolina with tropical storm force winds, of at least 39 MPH. Wave action could also cause coastal flooding and beach erosion.
But there’s good news. Just about all forecast models have the storm making a sharp turn to the east, and quickly moving out to sea after Wednesday.
Maria is a storm that has caused loss of life and catastrophic damage. And it will continue to be monitored very closely over the next week.
For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Matt Monroe