Maria weakens to tropical storm, slowly moves away from NC coast

13News Now Meteorologist Tim Pandajis gives the latest forecast and models for Hurricane Maria as it churns off the Outer Banks on Wednesday, 9/27/2017.

The National Hurricane Center said on Thursday Maria has weakened to Tropical Storm strength off the coast of North Carolina, and it is also moving away from North Carolina.

As of 11 p.m. ET, Thursday, Maria had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph, making it a Tropical Storm.  The storm was located about 335 miles north of Bermuda. and was moving east at 17 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.

Maria's hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 105 miles from the center.

See Also: 13News Now Hurricane Center

Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for visitors to Okracoke and Hatteras islands.


No Tropical Storm warnings and watches have been posted.

All storm surge watches and warnings have been discontinued, and the National Hurricane Center said that the tropical storm warnings are also expected to be discontinued Wednesday evening.

Though the storm is well offshore, large swells are rolling onshore along much of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic coasts because of Maria. "These swells will likely cause dangerous surf and rip currents at beaches through much of the week," the hurricane center said.

A push of much cooler air from the Midwest should pick Maria up and steer the storm out to sea by later in the week and next weekend, AccuWeather said. The recent summer-like heat that's baked the eastern third of the nation will come to an end.

On Sunday afternoon, Dare County issued a statement advising residents to be prepared for tropical storm conditions that will reach the area on Tuesday.

"Impacts will include high winds for a long duration, dangerous surf conditions, and flooding from the ocean and sound. Dangerous surf conditions will persist throughout the week and travel impacts will occur as Maria moves off the coast," the statement says.

At 1 p.m. on Thursday visitors are expected to have full access to Hatteras Island, but are warned of sand and water on Highway 12.

MORE INFORMATION: Visitors allowed to return to Hatteras Island at 1 p.m.

Another storm, Hurricane Lee, is located over the central Atlantic Ocean about 460 miles east-northeast of Bermuda as a Category 2 storm, but poses no threat to land. The same front that will push Maria away from the U.S. is also expected knock Lee away across the Atlantic.

PHOTOS: Va. Task Force 2 sending another team to Puerto Rico for hurricane relief

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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