Hurricane Maria is sending high winds, surf along East Coast

by Abel Hampton September 27, 2017, 0:17
Hurricane Maria is sending high winds, surf along East Coast

Evacuations were ordered for Ocracoke and Hatteras Islands.

Hyde County emergency services director Jason Gibbs said Monday morning that 225 people had evacuated Ocracoke Island since the 5 a.m. order went into effect. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles [150 km] primarily to the east of center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 230 miles [370 km].

Little has changed in the outlook for the storm, now a minimal hurricane about 190 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras and moving north at 7 mph.

Forecasters said most forecast models agree on this scenario.

Maria could move over the seas stirred up by former Hurricane Jose, which could decrease sea surface temperatures and give the storm less fuel to work with.

Hurricane Maria could prompt storm watches along North Carolina's Outer Banks as it rolls north after killing at least 10 people and knocking out power to the entire U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Bogue Inlet north to the Virginia border, as well as for Albemarle and Pamlico sounds. Adrienne Kina, who normally works as a saleswoman at REAL Watersports, says this storm "is going to screw" the locals all over again.

"A coastal inundation of 2-4 feet is likely on the barrier islands of eastern North Carolina", according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.

According to Moss, the chance for severe weather is greatest late Tuesday into Wednesday, and rip currents and beach erosion could continue through Thursday. It also hammered the Dominican Republic, the US Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos, a British overseas territory.

The tropical storm force winds are likely to reach west into a portion of eastern North Carolina, but will not make landfall.

While the past month has been devastating, the 2017 season doesn't end until November 30 and warm ocean temperatures suggest there are still more storms to come, said Phil Klotzbach, lead author of the Colorado State University seasonal hurricane forecast.

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