Hurricane Maria is back to major hurricane strength and is expected to remain a hurricane through Tuesday, causing some adverse conditions along the U.S. East Coast.
By Tuesday, the latest forecast cone puts Maria off the coast of the Carolinas. Some forecast models bring the storm closer to North Carolina, but most show it turning to the northeast by the middle of next week.
“Your eye does kind of go to a couple of rogue models that are bringing it closer to the coast,” said ABC11 meteorologist Steve Stewart. “Again, when you see a majority like this offshore, confidence is pretty high. We feel fairly good about it.”
As of 2 p.m. Thursday, the large eye of the Category 3 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph and higher gusts, was passing offshore northeast of the Dominican Republic.
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Maria is expected to move toward the east side of the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas through Friday. The forecast cone shows Maria then tracking alongside the East Coast, similar to Hurricane Jose.
Forecasters say Maria is likely to strengthen some as it moves over warmer waters in the next couple days.
Swells from the storm, likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip currents, are expected to reach parts of the southeastern United States on Friday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
“No matter where this storm goes, even if it stays well offshore, similar to Jose, we’re going to have some rough seas … along the Outer Banks, potential waves at around 10 to 12 feet,” Stewart said.