Latest track for Hurricane Maria brings it close to North Carolina; Tropical Storm Watch issued for coast

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The latest on Hurricane Maria (WTVD)

Hurricane Maria is expected to keep moving north later this week and will likely bring high surf, rain, and wind gusts to the North Carolina coast.

The Latest
* Now a Category 1 storm
*Tropical Storm Watch issues for all eastern North Carolina; Ocracoke Island forced to evacuate
* Expected to pass NC coast Tuesday and Wednesday

Just before 11 p.m. on Sunday Hurricane Maria was downgraded to a Category 1 storm. The storm weakened throughout the day mainly within the storm's eye.

Earlier in the evening, the National Weather Service issued a Tropical Storm Watch for much of the North Carolina coast.

Those visiting Ocracoke Island have been ordered to evacuate the island starting around 5 a.m. on Monday.

Locations to be affected the most are Jacksonville, Richlands, and North Topsail Beach, experts believe.

The watch is in effect as Maria moves past the coast Tuesday and Wednesday.

Only the Outer Banks are in the cone of uncertainty, making a landfall unlikely.

However, a landfall isn't needed to have significant problems along the beach.

As Maria tracks northward offshore, more clouds will begin to filter into the Triangle by the middle of the week. Any showers from Maria will stay well offshore, but surf will be rough off the beaches through next week.

The GFS wave model is showing seas at 20 to 25 feet along the outer banks. If that happens, we'll have beach erosion and coastal over-wash.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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