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Wednesday, Sep 19, 2018
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Hurricane Maria bypassing Bahamas, causing dangerous surf along East Coast

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Forecasters say Hurricane Maria is causing dangerous surf and rip currents along the East Coast of the U.S. after the storm devastated Puerto Rico.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Saturday that the storm's winds had decreased to 115 mph (185 kph).

Maria is a Category 3 storm and is expected to stay well off the East Coast, but the system is generating swells along the southeastern coast. The waves will increase along the Mid-Atlantic coast Saturday night and Sunday.

RELATED: Still worried about family, Tampa Bay Puerto Ricans ramp up relief effort

As of 11 a.m., the storm was located about 320 miles east of the Bahamas and moving north-northwest at 8 mph.

In Puerto Rico, officials are rushing to evacuate tens of thousands of people living downstream from a failing dam.

Puerto Rican officials could not communicate with more than half the towns in the U.S. territory as they rushed to evacuate tens of thousands of people downstream of a failing dam.

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Authorities launched an evacuation of the 70,000 people living downstream from the Guajataca Dam in northwest Puerto Rico, sending buses to move people away Friday and posting frantic warnings on Twitter that went unseen by many in the blacked-out coastal area.

The 345-yard (316-meter) dam was built around 1928. It holds back a man-made lake covering about 2 square miles (5 square kilometers). More than 15 inches (nearly 40 centimeters) of rain fell on the surrounding mountains after the Category 4 Maria left the island Wednesday afternoon.

Weather Center