The latest projection on Hurricane Maria gives the storm a better chance of affecting North Carolina by the middle of next week.
For the past several days, forecasts showed the storm moving well offshore up the East Coast before curving out to sea. The projected path as of Saturday morning shifted considerably west and reflected a more delayed approach than before, pulling level with the Carolinas Wednesday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center.
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Maria remained a Category 3 major hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph, moving north-northwest along the east side of the Bahamas as of 11 a.m. Saturday. It is expected to turn more to the north by Saturday evening.
“As of right now, the outer banks are now in the cone making a landfall unlikely,” ABC11 meteorologist Steve Stewart reported Saturday morning. “However, a landfall isn’t needed to have significant problems along the beach.”
Swells from the storm, likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip currents, are expected increase along the southeastern United States coast Saturday, the National Hurricane Center reported. The latest wave models, Stewart said, call for 20- to 25-foot seas along the Outer Banks on Wednesday.
Steward said winds coming out of the Southeast by mid-week will dictate how close Maria comes to North Carolina.