Category 3 Storm Moving Away From Bahamas

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Maria also developed an incredibly large eye that was found by a Hurricane Hunter aircraft to be 40 miles wide early Thursday.

At this time, there are tropical storm warnings for Turks and Caicos as well as parts of the Bahamas. It poses no threat to North America.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Saturday that the storm's winds had decreased to 115 miles per hour (185 kph). Thankfully it's a broad trough and not a digging one (a digging negatively-tilted trough is a great way to yank a hurricane into the east coast) so it all comes down to timing.

High surf and risky rip currents generated by Maria will begin arriving on the Southeast coast this weekend.

The NHC says Maria will be moving well east of the United States southeast coast during the next two days.

As Maria nears the coast Tuesday, our current weather pattern will finally break down. Four became major systems, Category 3 or stronger, including Harvey, Irma and Maria. Well, there's been a lot of consistency with model runs over the last several days that show the storm keeping well off shore.

Tropical systems "feel" weak spots in the atmosphere in the absence of strong steering currents, and Jose is providing a weakness between a big eastern US area of high pressure and one out over the Atlantic.

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Forecasters expect Maria to take a turn more toward the north-northwest later today as it travels around the underside of a mid-level high pressure area centered south of Bermuda.

Maria is headed north, and while it is likely to stay offshore, it will get too close for comfort for the North Carolina coast.

Hurricane Maria's outer edges are expected to reach here by mid-week, and a tropical storm watch has been posted for the North Carolina coast to the Virginia line.

Having closer proximity to an Outer Banks hit or graze, I'd imagine onshore winds would be a little stronger with a better chance for outer-fringe rain bands to make it over land. Direct impacts from the storm include tropical storm force winds and storm surge of 2-4 feet along the Outer Banks.

Meanwhile, another named storm has formed in the Atlantic.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 230 miles. Lee is expected to stay safely in the middle of the Atlantic for the time being.

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