FIRST ALERT: Hurricane Maria's track to stay east of the SC coas - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

FIRST ALERT: Hurricane Maria's track to stay east of the SC coast

(Source: WIS) (Source: WIS)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

It appears Hurricane Maria's track will not move west toward the east coast of the United States. 

As of the 8 a.m. update Friday, Maria's maximum sustained winds are 125 miles per hour, keeping it at a Category 3. It is moving at 7 miles per hour to the northwest. A gradual weakening is expected over the next 48 hours as the storm turns toward a more northward track.

Hurricane conditions were reported on the Turks and Caicos Islands Friday morning. It was about 35 miles east-northeast of Grand Turk Island at the 5 a.m. update Friday.

"On the forecast track, Maria's eye will move near or just east of the Turks and Caicos Islands and southeastern Bahamas today," the National Hurricane Center said.

"At this point, all indications are Maria will remain off our coast," said WIS First Alert Meteorologist Tim Miller. "The consensus is it will remain well out to sea. We'll continue to watch the track of this storm."

Only one of the current models projects Maria hitting the east coast of the United States.

Maria is taking a similar track as Hurricane Irma did just two weeks ago, and most in the region are taking precautions sooner rather than later. 

RELATED: Click here to see Maria's forecast track

RELATED: Click here to see Maria's spaghetti models

Maria made its first landfall on Dominica as a Category 5 storm around 9:15 p.m. Monday. 

Maria grew into a hurricane on Sunday, and it followed a path that went near many of the islands wrecked by Hurricane Irma and on to Puerto Rico.

The First Alert Weather Team is tracking the tropics.

Download the WIS First Alert Weather App for updates on Maria and other weather that may affect you. It's free.

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