Hurricane Maria Saturday 5pm

Hurricane Maria. NOAA/Provided

National Weather Service forecasters in Charleston warned on Saturday that South Carolina could see high surf and dangerous rip currents as Hurricane Maria passes off the coast.

As of early Saturday night, the storm was 285 miles east of Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said. Her winds were 115 mph — a category 3 storm — and she was moving north-northwest at 9 mph.

Maria was expected to turn north Saturday night and stay offshore of the southeastern U.S. coast as she continued on her track, the Hurricane Center said.

The Weather Service warned that beaches in southeast South Carolina and Georgia will see dangerous rip currents through early Sunday night, and issued a high surf advisory from 8 a.m. Sunday to 8 p.m. Monday.

"These rip currents will be life threatening to anyone who enters the surf," the Weather Service said.

Forecasters expect breaking waves of 5-7 feet, the Weather Service said. 

"Everyone should remain out of the water," the Weather Service said. "Mariners should use extreme caution ... especially near inlets ... cuts and bays." 

The Weather Service also warned that structures like piers and jetties will be particularly dangerous. 

Charleston, however, should expect clear weather in the coming days. 

"Models continue to show a relatively dry forecast through the period with above normal temperatures," the Weather Service said.

Mostly-clear skies are expected Sunday with a high near 84 degrees, the Weather Service said. Partly-cloudy conditions and a low near 70 will prevail overnight. Similar conditions are expected Monday with a high around 85 and a low near 71.

Reach Gregory Yee at 843-937-5908. Follow him on Twitter @GregoryYYee.

Gregory Yee covers breaking news and public safety. He's a native Angeleno and previously covered crime and courts for the Press-Telegram in Long Beach, CA. He studied journalism and Spanish literature at the University of California, Irvine.