Weakening Maria passing off shore, dangerous beach conditions - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Weakening Maria passing off shore, dangerous beach conditions through Tuesday

Hurricane Maria Hurricane Maria
Forecast track Forecast track
High Surf Advisory High Surf Advisory

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) -Hurricane Maria is located about 375 miles to the southeast of Myrtle Beach and moving slowly to the north.

The combination of cooler water, wind shear and dry air has caused Maria to weaken significantly today with winds now down to 80 mph.  Additional slow weakening will continue through Wednesday and Maria is forecast to be a strong tropical storm as it brushes the Outer Banks of North Carolina late Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Despite the fact that Maria is weakening, it remains a large storm.  Hurricane force winds extend out about 70 miles from the center, and tropical storm force winds extend out 260 miles. 

The official forecast track continues to take Maria slowly to the north today and Tuesday. By late Tuesday and Wednesday, Maria will pass about 140 miles east of the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  Tropical storm warnings are in effect for the Outer Banks with the potential of 50 mph winds and a 2-4 foot storm surge. By Thursday, Maria will rapidly accelerate to the northeast into the open waters of the Atlantic. 

While no direct impacts are expected locally, very dangerous beach conditions will develop today and linger through Tuesday. 

A HIGH SURF ADVISORY remains in effect for all beaches.  Breaking waves will likely build to as large as 8 feet at times today and into Tuesday.  In addition, a very high risk of dangerous rip currents will exist.  The large, breaking waves will also likely lead to periods of minor beach erosion.  At times of high tide, dune overwash will be possible especially in areas of Garden City, Surfside Beach, Pawleys Island, Cherry Grove and North Myrtle Beach. 

The WMBF First Alert Weather App has a handy tropical tracker feature to keep an eye on any storms at sea, as well as regular video updates from our meteorologists. .   

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