Hurricane Maria weakened slightly as it continued on its northward path towards the East Coast of the United States.
Maria, now a Category 2 Hurricane with maximum sustained winds nearing 110 mph, is expected to moving toward the north of the coast at 9 mph. This path is expected to continue through Monday, according to The National Hurricane Center.
Weather forecasters believe that the hurricane will stay offshore, but it could come close enough that some parts of the coast will feel its effects.
The center said that parts along the Carolina and Mid-Atlantic Coasts “should monitor the progress of Maria,” and that hurricane watches may need to be issued for portions of the coast later today.
According to the latest advisory from the Hurricane Center as of 5 a.m Atlantic Standard Time, Maria is about 290 miles east-northeast of Great Abaco Island and about 530 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
As of writing on Sunday, Sept. 24, there are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.
However, swells formed by Maria have increased along portions of the southeastern United States Coast and Bermuda. These swells will be increasing along the Mid-Atlantic coast later today, according to the Hurricane Center.
The swells will continue to affect he areas of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the northern coast of Hispaniola, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Bahamas. The Center warns that they are likely to cause “life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.”
For more information, consult your local weather office at www.weather.gov.
Hurricane Maria previously barrelled toward the Turks and Caicos Islands on Friday after lashing Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands with winds and rain that destroyed homes, caused flooding, devastated economies, and left at least 32 people dead.
Maria was the second major hurricane to hit the Caribbean this month and the strongest storm to hit the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico in nearly 90 years. It knocked out the island’s power and several rivers hit record flood levels, according to Reuters.
At least 15 people were killed in Puerto Rico, El Nuevo Día newspaper reported.
In the heart of the island’s capital, San Juan, which has a fort and buildings from the Spanish colonial era, the storm left a trail of wreckage. Toppled trees cut power lines and streets were turned into rivers.