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Maria to weaken to tropical storm on Tuesday: NHC

A satellite image showing hurricane Maria on September 25, 2017.
Source: NOAA
A satellite image showing hurricane Maria on September 25, 2017.

Hurricane Maria is slowly moving northward well offshore in the Atlantic, kicking up large ocean swells along much of the U.S. East Coast.

The large Category 1 hurricane was centered at 11 a.m. ET Monday about 315 miles (505 kilometers) south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Its top sustained winds were clocked at 80 mph (130 kph) and the storm is moving to the north at 7 mph (11 kph).

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the core of Maria is expected to move well east of the Southeast U.S. coast over the next day or so. Gradual weakening is in the forecast with Maria expected to become a tropical storm on Tuesday night.

A tropical storm warning remains in effect in North Carolina from Cape Lookout to Duck along the Outer Banks and for Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

The chief of police in Dominica says the confirmed death toll has risen to 27 from Hurricane Maria's strike on the Caribbean island.

Chief Daniel Carbon told reporters Monday that the toll had risen from 15. He said another 27 were missing.

Maria slammed into the small island on Sept. 18 as a Category 5 hurricane, causing devastating damage, before continuing on to hit Puerto Rico.