Confidence 'High' That Hurricane Maria Won't Affect South Carolina

Tropical Update: Maria moving away from Puerto Rico, Hispaniola

While the cone of uncertainty presently interacts with the northern part of the North Carolina coast as well as the Virginia and Maryland coasts, the storm poses no direct threat to SC, though it is already producing coastal effects that are being felt throughout the area, including a high rip current risk, large waves, choppy surf and higher tides.

Although it's not now predicted to make landfall along the coast, Maria is the third hurricane to affect the U.S. in the last month. This storm has winds of 45 miles per hour and is moving north northwest at 3 miles per hour.

Confidence is "high" that Hurricane Maria will have no impacts in SC, even as the powerful storm continues to churn out in the Atlantic.

Swells generated by Maria already were increasing along parts of the coast Sunday and are expected to continue to increase. As Maria tracks northward offshore, more clouds will begin to filter into the Triangle by the middle of the week.

Computer models continue to move the storm's path farther west, and the Outer Banks now falls within the Hurricane Center's "cone of uncertainty", which is very large four and five days from now.

Maria is still a powerful Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour.

"Regardless of the exact forecast track", the storm is so big that "tropical storm-force winds could reach a portion of the North Carolina coast by mid-week", the NHC said.

At this time, there are tropical storm warnings for Turks and Caicos as well as parts of the Bahamas. The storm remains a Category 1 hurricane as it moves southeast at 3 miles per hour.

I still expect wave heights and rip currents to present unsafe swimming conditions along the beaches. If the storm stays in the wake of José, cooler water will eventually cause it to weaken, the Hurricane Center said.

It is expected to maintain hurricane strength for at least the next five days.

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