Hurricane Bill: Less Organized, Still a Danger

A slightly more disorganized Hurricane Bill is expected to remain offshore this weekend, but could still spell trouble for end-of-summer beachgoers on the United States' East Coast.

Big waves and rip currents today and throughout the weekend could be dangerous at the water's edge from Florida north to Maine.

Along the southern coast, the National Weather Service is already warning people to stay out of the water to prevent drownings in hazardous conditions.

Watch "World News With Charles Gibson" tonight at 6:30 p.m. ET for the full report.

As of 11 a.m. Friday morning, the Category 3 hurricane was 335 miles south-southwest of Bermuda, where a hurricane watch is in effect and rain and flooding are expected today and Saturday. The storm was about 755 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C., according to the morning update from the National Hurricane Center.

Visit ABC News' special section on Hurricane Season 2009.

Waves could be as high as 14 feet off the coast of North Carolina and 11 feet off of the Mid-Atlantic. Swells are expected to extend as far north as New York's Long Island by this afternoon.

"As the storm moves up in the general direction between Bermuda and then off the East Coast and off the Canadian Maritimes, the swells that emanate out from it will be working their way towards the East Coast," National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read said Thursday.

On Sunday, New Englanders could see the worst conditions, with gusty winds and waves as high as 23 feet being forecast by NOAA off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass., as the storm travels north.

That means a likely damper on the Obama family's vacation to Martha's Vineyard off the Massachusetts coast, as well as a kink in the plans of countless other people trying to fit in a final weekend at the shore.

Bill's Winds Weaken But Still Pose Threat

After earning its name Saturday when it became a tropical storm, Hurricane Bill was deemed the first hurricane of the Atlantic storm season by Monday morning. The hurricane strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane by Wednesday, sustaining winds up to 135 miles per hour.

But Bill has weakened in the last few days.

On Thursday morning, it dissipated slightly to a Category 3, with winds decreasing to 120 miles per hour. Overnight, it slowed a little more; winds were measured at 115 miles per hour 11 a.m. Friday morning.

Should winds decrease to 110 miles per hour, Bill would get downgraded again to a Category 2.

Still, forecasters say the hurricane could still regain strength.

"Some slight restrengthening is still possible later today followed by a gradual weakening on Saturday," the Friday morning update from the National Hurricane Center read.

a wide storm

As has been the case throughout the week, the storm is still expected to take a turn farther to the north-northwest later today, sparing the East Coast from more severe weather. It's then likely to weaken in colder waters and possibly make landfall near Canada's Nova Scotia or Newfoundland Sunday night and Monday.

Bill is an ever-widening storm with hurricane-force winds now extending some 115 miles from its center and tropical-storm force winds reaching 290 miles outward, according to the National Hurricane Center.

ABC News' Jeffrey Kofman, Gerard McNiff, Jan Simmonds, Sharyn Alfonsi and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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