Sept. 26 (UPI) — Hurricane Maria has weakened into a tropical storm and is moving “slowly northward,” the National Hurricane Center said Tuesday afternoon.
The NHC’s 5 p.m. advisory said the storm had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph and was moving due north at 7 mph.
The eye of the tropical storm was about 160 miles east-southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C.
“On the forecast track, the center of Maria will pass east of the coast of North Carolina during the next couple of days,” the advisory said.
The hurricane center said forecasters expect Maria to turn north-northeast Wednesday and east-northeast Thursday.
A storm surge warning was issued from Ocracoke Inlet to Cape Hatteras, N.C.
A tropical storm warning was in effect for Bogue Inlet, N.C., north to the Virginia border, and Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds. A storm surge watch was in effect for the North Carolina coast from Cape Lookout to west of Ocracoke Inlet and from north of Cape Hatteras to Duck.
“Large swells generated by Maria are affecting much of the east coast of the United States,” the NHC said.
Forecasters said swells were also continuing in Bermuda, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas. Forecasters said they will likely cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.