MIAMI (AP/WAVY) — Hurricane Maria is forecast to impact Hampton Roads and North Carolina through Wednesday as it passes offshore.
Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for visitors on Ocracoke and Hatteras islands. The Hyde County Board of Commissioners declared a state of emergency Sunday for all of Hyde County. The the evacuation began at 5 a.m. Monday on Ocracoke Island. It’s not immediately clear how many residents and visitors are heeding the order to leave. The mandatory evacuation for Hatteras Island visitors includes the villages of Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco, and Hatteras Village.
The Tropical Storm Watch from north of Duck to the North Carolina/Virginia border was changed to a Tropical Storm Warning Monday evening. The Tropical Storm Warning has been extended southward to Bogue Inlet and the Tropical Storm Watch has been discontinued west of Bogue Inlet. A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area.
A storm surge watch is in effect for Cape Lookout to Duck, North Carolina.
Maria was a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 80 mph, moving north near 7 mph.
The hurricane center said Monday that gradual weakening was expected over the next couple of days. Even still, tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area beginning Tuesday.
Meteorologist Jeremy Wheeler reports Maria will be southeast of the Outer Banks by early Tuesday — still well offshore — when those conditions arrive.
Maria could weaken further to a tropical storm early Wednesday, before it moves quickly to the northeast during the remainder of the week.
Computer models were in good agreement Monday morning on the future track for Maria — with nearly all of the models taking the storm off to the northeast.
Maria is not expected to be a rainmaker for Hampton Roads and the Outer Banks.
The major effects from Maria this week will be tidal flooding, wind gusts and rip currents — especially in the Outer Banks. There is a storm surge watch from Cape Lookout to Duck including the sound side.
Minor-to-nuisance tidal flooding is expected through Wednesday afternoon for Sewell’s Point. Moderate-to-major tidal flooding possible in the Outer Banks.
Winds of up to 25 mph are expected in Hampton Roads, with gusts as high as 40 mph on the coast. The Outer Banks are forecast to see stronger winds of 50 mph.
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