North Carolina’s Outer Banks Brace For Maria
MIAMI (AP) — The Latest on Hurricane Maria (all times local):
North Carolina's Outer Banks are bracing for the effects of Hurricane Maria, even though the storm is expected to pass the state at least 150 miles (240 kilometers) offshore.
Schools were closed Tuesday in all of Dare County because of expected tropical storm conditions. Dare County includes much of the Outer Banks, as well as some inland areas along Pamlico Sound.
The National Weather Service in Morehead City, North Carolina, said significant beach erosion is expected north of Cape Lookout. Storm surge of between 2 feet (0.6 meters) and four feet (1 meter) is expected, mostly north of Cape Hatteras.
Officials ordered visitors to leave both Ocracoke and Hatteras islands ahead of the storm.
They warned dangerous rip currents were possible in the ocean for the rest of the week.
Hurricane Maria has weakened slightly as it moves northward in the Atlantic off the coast of the Carolinas.
Maria's maximum sustained winds Tuesday morning are near 75 mph (120 kph). The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Maria is expected to keep gradually weakening and is forecast to become a tropical storm Tuesday night or Wednesday.
The storm is centered about 210 miles (340 kilometers) southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and is moving north at 7 mph (11 kph).
A tropical storm warning is in effect for a swath of the North Carolina coast from Bogue Inlet to the Virginia border.