Before talking scenarios and latest thoughts, I think its important we reiterate that regardless of where Maria is forecasts to track, we are still going to see widespread impacts along the outer banks of North Carolina by Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. However, considering how much coastal beach erosion the North Carolina outer banks have already seen with Jose, any additional westerly track with Maria will only add insult to injury.
Let’s cover what we know about Maria first:
Latest Stats with Maria still classify at Category 2 Hurricane Status and it is moving north.
Maria is forecast to weaken but still remaining a Hurricane as it brushes by the outer banks later this week.
But will it brush by or make a direct impact? That’s the question.
As we’ve all seen, many forecast models have generally kept Hurricane Maria trending offshore as it makes its approach northward.
NHC track below.
This is definitely a trend that scientifically makes sense given the upper air steering forces at hand;however, we cannot completely rule out a more westerly track in North Carolina with Maria for a couple reasons.
Below is a look at current steering factors. The Bermuda high pressure has aided in pulling Maria northwest since its origination in the caribbean (along with global forces as well. i.e. Coriolos Force) . The high pressure (clock-wise rotation) stationed over the northeast is also likely to allow Maria to drift a little west as it continues that slow path northward.
You might be thinking to yourself: So why is the National Hurricane Center showing that right turn re-curving Maria back out to sea after brushing by the North Carolina coast?
Great question:.The short answer- It is depicting that for a few factors but one most notably being the trough out west moving east and upper air steering winds pushing Maria east with it.
So what is the point? The point is TIMING. Timing on all these dynamics coming together to play out the sharp right turn before making it farther west.
REGARDLESS of the points above, we will most certainly see the indirect impacts with Maria and that is what we “need” to focus on to stay weather prepared. Those impacts being storm surge from NC coast to VA coast, heavy rain and strong winds potentially knocking out power and prompting flying debris. We know those are the impacts we should expect that for the coast in order to remain more PROACTIVE vs. REACTIVE
However, if timing is NOT on our side with the trough making it far enough east to push Maria back out to sea BEFORE potentially making landfall then the impacts and effects will be much more severe and could be felt farther inland as well. And that is also what we need to closely monitor. We are to a point now that by Monday there should be more certainty in the forecast for timing and impacts with Maria.
Stay with WeatherNation for the latest!
Meteorologist Merry Matthews