Storm surge flooding reported as Maria spins away from U.S.
Wednesday, September 27, 2017, 11:57 - Hurricane Maria is forecast to be about 150 miles east of the Outer Banks, and close enough to cause 35-50 mph wind gusts near the coast and additional coastal flooding. Here's what the East Coast can expect as the storm makes an eastward turn farther into the Atlantic later in the week.
Be sure to watch the video that leads this article for a full forecast analysis.
Maria became a short-lived tropical storm Tuesday before regaining strength in the Atlantic Wednesday morning.
The Category 1 storm will not make landfall but will come close to portions of North Carolina midweek and could bring tropical storm force winds, locally heavy rain, storm surge, and very rough surf, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
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A Storm Surge Warning remains in effect for Ocracoke Inlet to Cape Hatteras, while the Ocracoke Inlet to the North Carolina/Virginia border, as well Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds remain under a Tropical Storm Warning.
"Maria is forecast to accelerate east-northeastward on Thursday and Thursday night," says the National Hurricane Center a Wednesday morning public advisory. "On the forecast track, Maria will begin to move away from the coast of North Carolina later today and tonight."
In the meantime, folks expect rough surf and high seas for the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic coasts, along with increasing cloudiness and gusty winds. Storm surge is expected to reach 2 to 4 ft. for the Ocracoke Inlet to Duck including the sound side of the Outer Banks through Thursday.
Residents and visitors are urged to stay off the beach until warnings expire.
Meanwhile, a humanitarian crises continues for Puerto Rico, an island ravaged by Maria with more than 3 million U.S. citizens impacted.
San Juan's mayor urged the United States on Tuesday to prioritize "people above debt" as it helps rebuild from the devastation of Hurricane Maria, after President Donald Trump said that the island's crippling debt "must be dealt with."