On the forecast track, Maria's center will begin to turn slowly away from the coast of North Carolina later today and tonight. A tropical storm warning was lifted west of Orcacoke Inlet.
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.
Brian McNoldy, a senior research associate at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School tweeted: "Hurricane Maria has a giant wind field, and it's lashing the Outer Banks with strong gusts".
Meteorologists are now watching the progress of hurricanes Lee and Maria as they take curved tracks across the North Atlantic.
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While Maria's most punishing hurricane-force winds remained offshore, tropical storm-force winds extended for as much as 230 miles (370 kilometers) from the center, churning up the surf on both sides of the islands.
As Maria moves north along the East Coast, Maryland's shores are affected.
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Maria had weakened to a tropical storm Tuesday afternoon as the winds finally dipped below hurricane strength for the first time in nine days. The same trough which is expected to escort Maria out over the North Atlantic will deliver a shot of continental air, sending temperatures below seasonal as we head into the beginning of October.
Maria is still a large storm and, even without a direct hit, will impact the coast of North Carolina. Elsewhere, winds were running around 30 miles per hour with higher gusts.
Maria was finally racing east over the Atlantic on Thursday, giving the United States a rest from the constant threat of tropical weather for more than a month.
Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for visitors on Ocracoke and Hatteras islands. Maria is forecast to weaken to a tropical storm Wednesday, as it moves further southeast and out to sea. throughout the week; it's not forecast to make landfall on the US mainland.
Tropical Storm Lee is far away from land over the central Atlantic and has become a post-tropical low.
Maria is forecast to accelerate east-northeastward on Thursday and Thursday night. The National Hurricane Center update for 7 p.m. Friday remains unchanged from advisories issued earlier in the day.