TS Lee and Maria both past the island

Warm until late week, Hurricane Maria stays offshore

Hurricane Maria is on its way across the North Atlantic and could hit the United Kingdom at the weekend, forecasters have warned. A high threat of rip currents will also be in effect until the end of the week.

In a visible image from NOAA's GOES East satellite on September 29 at 10:15 a.m. EDT (1415 UTC), wind shear's effect on the storm is evident.

No injuries have been reported on the USA mainland with Maria, which mainly lashed North Carolina's fragile Outer Banks with high water and waves pounding the fragile islands from both sides, washing over the only highway connecting Hatteras Island to the mainland.

The Tropical Storm Watch from north of Duck to the North Carolina/Virginia border was changed to a Tropical Storm Warning Monday evening.

Those dry conditions are expected to last until at least Tuesday, said Michael Ross, of the National Weather Service office in Wilmington. Maria is centered about 145 miles east of Cape Hatteras, NC and moving north at 5 mph.

"Ex-Maria will still contain tropical air brought north and it is this air which has the potential to affect our weather".


Reports from an Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft indicate that the maximum sustained winds are near 75 miles per hour with higher gusts. Its tropical storm-force winds extended for as much as 240 miles (390 kilometers) from the center, churning up the surf on both sides of the fragile islands.

"On the forecast track, the center of Maria will pass east of the coast of North Carolina during the next day or so", the advisory said. A storm surge between two-and-four feet is possible and up to four inches of rain could fall through Wednesday in the region. Additional weakening is forecast, and Lee is expected to become a tropical storm later today. He said the worst problems were on Hatteras Island, where more than 10,000 visitors left under an evacuation order, but hundreds of local residents were allowed to stay.

Maria is expected decrease in strength over the night and turn north on Wednesday, with a turn to the northeast predicted for Thursday.

Lee will also be steered by an area of high pressure in the Central Atlantic.

The storm is expected to weaken as it leaves tropical waters but forecasters have still told Brits to be prepared for strong winds and heavy rain.

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