Hurricane Maria will come close enough to North Carolina to trigger gusty winds and rain, while unleashing dangerous seas elsewhere along the East Coast this week, AccuWeather reports .
Maria, currently a Category 1 hurricane, will continue to track to the north-northwest away from the Caribbean early this week.
"Early this week, Maria will not be a threat to land," AccuWeather senior meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said. "However, during the middle of the week, Maria may move rather close to the Outer Banks of North Carolina."
Maria is forecast to pass about 150 miles of the Outer Banks on Wednesday. The core of the storm with hurricane force wind will stay offshore with only a slight chance of landfall.
"We expect Maria to bring tropical storm conditions, or the equivalent of a moderate nor'easter in part of eastern North Carolina and in southeastern Virginia," according to AccuWeather senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
"We do not expect Maria to regain major hurricane status. Further weakening is likely at midweek."
Sporadic power outages can occur and coastal flooding and beach erosion are anticipated.
Maria will run into an area of weak steering winds as it approaches North Carolina.
Maria's forward progress will slow significantly as a result, and the storm may even stall for a time near the coast. This will prolong the period of onshore winds, which push water toward the coast. There will be a period of moderate coastal flooding and significant beach erosion along the Outer Banks and southeastern Virginia coast.
"A coastal inundation of 2-4 feet is likely on the barrier islands of eastern North Carolina," according to AccuWeather hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski.
At this level, low-lying roads and bridges on the islands will take on water. There would be no way to get people off the islands should an emergency arise.
The impending effects from Maria forced mandatory evacuations of visitors in Ocracoke Island and Hatteras Island as well as the closure of the Ocracoke Campground.
"Waters are likely to rise to about 2 feet above astronomical tide levels in southeastern Virginia, with minor coastal flooding likely," Kottlowski said.
Some beach erosion will occur along much of the U.S. Atlantic coast with Maria just offshore through this week.
A general 2 to 4 inches of rain may fall across the Outer Banks, which will be enough to cause water to collect in urban areas that drain poorly, including N.C. Highway 12.
A push of much cooler air from the Midwest should pick Maria up and steer the storm out to sea by later in the week and next weekend. Summerlike heat spanning the eastern-third of the nation will come to an end.
A lull in tropical activity will follow Maria, but there will likely be more tropical threats heading into October.