At 11 a.m. Tuesday, the storm was centered about 175 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, and was drifting north at around 7 mph. The hurricane, whose appearance has “continued to slowly degrade” over the past day, according to the National Hurricane Center, could weaken to a tropical storm late Tuesday or Wednesday. It is moving over cooler waters and encountering an increase in hostile wind shear.
Even though Maria is losing steam and the Outer Banks is being confronted by its weaker left side, it is a large storm. “Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 240 miles,” the Hurricane Center said.
Tropical-storm-force winds are forecast to commence Tuesday afternoon in the Outer Banks and may persist, intermittently, through late Wednesday or early Thursday. The National Weather Service predicts sustained winds of 35 to 45 mph at times, with gusts up to 50 to 60 mph.
Bands of rain will occasionally cycle toward the coastline, producing one to two inches.
Maria’s most significant impacts are likely to result from the excess ocean water that the storm and its winds thrust ashore, or the storm surge. A storm surge warning stretches from Cape Lookout to Duck, where seas may rise two to four feet above normally dry land at high tide. Because the storm is a slow-mover and will batter the coastline through several tide cycles, serious beach erosion is likely.
In addition, the storm will generate large waves and dangerous rip currents — not just in North Carolina, but along the entire East Coast and in Bermuda, the Turks and Caicos, and the Bahamas.
Below find some social media photos and videos of the surf along the North Carolina coastline.