Hurricane Maria creating swells along East Coast

Hurricane Maria (lower right) is expected to become a tropical storm by late Tuesday. Photo courtesy of NOAA

Sept. 25 (UPI) — The National Hurricane Center said Hurricane Maria was creating “large swells” along the U.S. East Coast as it churned east of South Carolina on Monday.

The NHC’s 2 p.m. advisory said the storm had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph and could become a tropical storm by late Tuesday. It was moving north at 7 mph.

The eye of the hurricane was about 300 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C.

“The center of Maria will move well east of the southeast coast of the United States during the next day or so,” the advisory said.

A tropical storm warning was in effect for portions of the North Carolina coast from Cape Lookout to Duck, and Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds. A storm surge watch was also in effect for Cape Lookout to Duck. There was a tropical storm watch for certain portions of the North Carolina and Virginia coasts.

“Swells generated by Maria are increasing along portions of the southeastern United States coast and Bermuda and will be increasing along the Mid-Atlantic coast [Monday],” the NHC said.

Forecasters said swells were also continuing in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the northern coast of Hispaniola, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Bahamas. Forecasters said they will likely cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

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