WAVES, N.C. – The Latest on Maria (all times local):
Officials in North Carolina hope to make a decision soon on lifting the evacuation order imposed on two islands in the Outer Banks as Hurricane Maria approached.
The storm was downgraded to a tropical storm Thursday morning.
Officials in Dare and Hyde counties hoped to be able to make a decision Thursday on lifting the evacuation order imposed for visitors Monday as the storm approached. County officials said they would consult with North Carolina transportation officials before making the decision to restore access to Hatteras Island in Dare County and Ocracoke Island in Hyde County.
Officials said more than 10,000 visitors evacuated to avoid the storm, which washed over sand dunes and N.C. Highway 12, the main road on the Outer Banks.
No serious injuries have been reported.
Maria has weakened to a tropical storm as it moves out to sea in the Atlantic.
The storm's maximum sustained winds decreased Thursday morning to near 70 mph (110 kph) with little change in strength expected over the next two days.
Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico and lashed North Carolina's Outer Banks with high water, is centered about 275 miles (440 kilometers) east-northeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and is moving east-northeast at 8 mph (13 kph).
In North Carolina, officials expected conditions to improve quickly on the Outer Banks as Maria races east, so schools can reopen, sand can be removed from roads and the ferries that provide access to Ocracoke Island can begin running again.
Maria is finally racing east in the Atlantic, giving the United States and the Caribbean a rest from the constant threat of tropical weather for more than a month.
No injuries have been reported on the U.S. mainland with Maria. The storm mainly lashed North Carolina's fragile Outer Banks, with high water and waves pounding the islands from both sides.
Officials say the water at times washed over the only highway connecting Hatteras Island to the mainland.
Officials expected conditions to improve quickly Thursday on the Outer Banks as Maria raced east, so schools could reopen, sand could be removed from roads and the ferries that provide access to Ocracoke Island can begin running again.