The Tropical Storm Watch issued for Hyde and Dare Counties has been upgraded to a Tropical Storm Warning per the 7 a.m. briefing from the National Weather Service Newport / Morehead City Office.
A Storm Surge Watch remains in effect for the Outer Banks as well from Surf City northward to the North Carolina / Virginia border.
Maria is expected to be moving very slowly up the coastline by mid-week. Even as the center of Maria is expected to remain offshore, impacts will be felt across Eastern NC due to the large size of the storm’s wind field.
Dangerous surf of 12 to 15 feet will produce minor to moderate erosion, and ocean overwash and flooded roads are probable. Large surf will build through mid-week with very dangerous rip currents lingering through the end of the week.
Storm surge inundation is also forecast, with water level rises of 2 to 4 feet above ground possible. Storm surge will develop late Tuesday and will continue into Wednesday and Thursday morning.
Tropical storm force winds of 30 to 40 mph are forecast for the area as well, starting around Tuesday, with gusts of 50 to 60 mph.
As of 5 a.m., Maria was located 350 miles SSE of Cape Hatteras and was moving north at 7 mph, with max winds of 80 mph. Hurricane Maria is forecast to continue her northern track, and pass about 150 miles east / southeast of the Outer Banks midweek.
A mandatory evacuation has been issued for visitors on Ocracoke and Hatteras Islands, and a state of emergency for Dare County was issued this morning.
Visit www.weather.gov/mhx for weather forecast information covering Eastern NC, and visit the National Hurricane Center at www.nhc.noaa.gov for information on the tropics.
The Island Free Press will continue to monitor this system and will post updates as soon as they are available.