BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The National Hurricane Center says Maria has been downgraded to a Tropical Storm.
They say that Maria continues to move slowly northward, now about 160 miles east-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
The storm is now reported to have maximum sustained winds of about 70 mph, moving north at 7 mph.
The storm is about 150 miles due east of Cape Hatteras, moving to the north slowly.
“It will begin to weaken by tomorrow afternoon, down to 60-65 miles per hour,” says Bob Turk.
The National Weather Service says there is a storm surge warning in effect for the Ocracoke Inlet to Cape Hatteras, and a Tropical Storm warning is in effect for Cape Lookout to west of Ocracoke Inlet, as well as north of Cape Hatteras to Duck.
The Carolina coasts could experience Tropical Storm force winds. Officials ordered visitors to leave both Ocracoke and Hatteras islands ahead of the storm. Thousands of visitors abandoned their beach vacations and evacuated as a result.
Forecasters say a turn toward the north-northeast is expected on Wednesday, and a turn toward the east-northeast is anticipated on Thursday.
As Maria moves north along the East Coast, Maryland’s shores are affected.
St. Mary’s County is under a Coaster Flood Advisory until 10 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Currently, there are rip current and a high surf advisory with beach hazards in place for Maryland and Virginia beaches.
“The threat for dangerous rip currents will likely be high for much of the upcoming week,” according to the National Weather Service.
Surf height is expected to be nine to 14 feet into Wednesday. The NWS does not advise entering the surf.