Hatteras, Ocracoke islands under mandatory evacuation for visitors as Maria nears coast
The National Hurricane Center said Maria's top sustained winds had dropped Tuesday to near 70 miles per hour, ending a nine-day run as a hurricane.
Map forecast for Hurricane Lee via National Hurricane Center.
"We've also been coordinating with Tideland EMC, the electric membership cooperative and they have personnel that will be deployed to Ocracoke to ensure that there will be additional personnel for any fix efforts that are necessary after the storm".
Hurricane Maria is expected to cause rough seas and surf throughout the east coast, but especially near the Outer Banks.
Hurricane Lee is centered about 520 miles ESE of Bermuda. Still, a tropical storm warning was in effect for the North Carolina coast from Bogue Inlet to the Virginia border, and meteorologists predicted a storm surge for Ocracoke Inlet to Cape Hatteras.
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Those dry conditions are expected to last until at least Tuesday, said Michael Ross, of the National Weather Service office in Wilmington. The National Hurricane Center expects Lee to weaken quickly and its remnants to bring gusty winds to Ireland and the United Kingdom over the weekend of September 30 and October 1.
Officials expected conditions to improve quickly Thursday on the Outer Banks, so schools could reopen, sand could be removed from roads and the ferries that provide access to Ocracoke Island can begin running again. Pearson said the worst problems were on Hatteras Island, where more than 10,000 visitors left under an evacuation order earlier this week. Lee will remain over the open waters of the central to northern Atlantic with no threat to land.
The National Hurricane Center forecast is for the storm to turn to the northeast and head out to sea overnight.
Autumn weather will dominate this week with foggy nights alongside wet and windy spells, while forecasters advise keeping an eye on updates about the potential impacts of Maria over the coming days.
Tropical Storm Maria moving north just off of the North Carolina coast... As Maria moves over cooler waters, weakening is expected and could be downgraded to a tropical storm by the end of the day tomorrow.
Maria is forecast to accelerate east-northeastward on Thursday and Thursday night.
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