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Hurricane Maria Expected To Cause Dangerous Surf, Rip Currents Along US Coast

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Hurricane Maria is currently a Category 3 storm and is expected to cause dangerous surf and rip currents at southeastern United States beaches for the next several days, according to the National Weather Service.

Maria will move away from the Bahamas into the open waters of the western Atlantic Saturday. The hurricane's maximum sustained winds are at 115 mph.

Maria is moving toward the northwest at around 9 mph but a turn toward the north is expected by Saturday evening. A northward motion with a decrease in forward speed is forecast to then continue through Monday.

"We do watch as it moves generally north, but then is expected to make a turn to the northeast. That would be at some point  Wednesday into Thursday," says Meg McNamara.

The computer models, for the most part, are in agreement about the turn to the northeast, which would take it away from the U.S.

Swells generated by Maria are increasing along portions of the southeastern United States coast and Bermuda and will be increasing along the Mid-Atlantic coast Saturday night and Sunday.

Swells also continue to affect Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the northern coast of Hispaniola, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Bahamas. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

There is a coastal flood advisory for Anne Arundel County until 1 a.m. Sunday morning, as well as St. Mary's and Calvert Counties until 8 a.m. Sunday.

Dorchester, Somerset and Wicomico Counties are under a coastal flood advisory until 9 a.m. Sunday.

The Maryland beaches are under hazard statement until Sunday evening.

The National Weather Service says "nearshore large breaking waves of three to five feet will result in dangerous surf conditions and a high risk of rip currents."

Beachgoers are cautioned from entering or approaching the water due to a high risk of being swept away.

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