As Jose passes, swimming on the Outer Banks is a dangerous idea

Weather forecasters posted a tropical storm warning for the waters off the Outer Banks on Monday because of Hurricane Jose, predicting 10- to 16-foot swells late Monday and into Tuesday morning and dangerous swimming conditions at the beaches.

The danger close to land is rough surf and rip currents from north of Wilmington all along the Outer Banks almost to the Virginia state line. The National Weather Service posted warnings of rip currents that will be dangerous for even the strongest swimmers.

The tropical storm warning covered the seas from Ocracoke north. Winds of 25 to 35 knots with gusts up to 45 knots were in store for sailors, the weather service office in Morehead City said.

Forecasters in Virginia posted a warning for offshore waters there, too.

The National Hurricane Center said Monday morning that Jose is expected to stay on a northern track taking it well offshore of the East Coast.

At 5 a.m., Jose’s center was about 280 miles east-southeast of Cape Hatteras. The storm had sustained winds of about 85 mph.

The storm that had been Hurricane Lee was expected to burn out well into the Atlantic, the hurricane center said.

And then the U.S. waits to see what Hurricane Maria does.

Surging from a Category 1 storm Monday morning to Category 3 by midday, Maria is predicted to keep getting stronger Monday night and Tuesday as it follows a track largely like the one Hurricane Irma took and beats up many of the same resort islands along the eastern edge of the Caribbean Sea.

The hurricane center’s predictions do not yet extend beyond Saturday, when they put Maria east of the Bahamas.

Ron Gallagher: 919-829-4572, @RPGKT