Tropical Storm Maria brought gusty winds and big waves to the Outer Banks of North Carolina on Tuesday night. At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Tropical Storm Maria was located at latitude 34.9°N and longitude 72.9°W which put it about 150 miles (240 km) east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Maria was moving toward the north at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 70 m.p.h. (110 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 85 m.p.h. (135 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 975 mb.
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the portion of the coast from Bogue Inlet, North Carolina to the North Carolina/Virginia border including Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.
Most of the showers and thunderstorms are occurring in the eastern half of the circulation of Tropical Storm Maria. The strongest winds are also occurring in the eastern half of Maria. Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 230 miles (370 km) east of the center of circulation and about 185 miles (295 km) to the west of the center. A NOAA buoy (41025) at Diamond Shoals was reporting sustained winds to near tropical storm force. The large size and slow movement of Tropical Storm Maria were causing large waves that were reaching the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
Tropical Storm Maria is moving around the western end of a subtropical high pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean. The high will steer Maria slowly toward the north on Wednesday. An upper level trough approaching the eastern U.S. will start to steer Maria toward the east on Thursday. The upper level trough will push Tropical Storm Maria away from the U.S. on Friday. When Maria moves over cooler water it will make a transition to an extratropical cyclone.
Elsewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, small Hurricane Lee neared major hurricane intensity. At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Hurricane Lee was located at latitude 30.0°N and longitude 55.5°W which put it about 570 miles (920 km) east-southeast of Bermuda. Lee was moving toward the west at 9 m.p.h. (15 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 110 m.p.h. (175 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 130 m.p.h. (210 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 971 mb.
Hurricane Lee has a small, well organized circulation. There is a small eye at the center of circulation. The eye is surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms. Several bands of showers and thunderstorms are revolving close to the core of Hurricane Lee. Winds to hurricane force only extend out about 25 miles (40 km) from the center of circulation. Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 60 miles (95 km) from the center.
Hurricane Lee could intensify into a major hurricane on Wednesday. Lee will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C. The upper level winds will be weak on Wednesday and there will be little vertical wind shear. Wind shear will increase later in the week when the upper level trough approaching the eastern U.S. gets closer to Hurricane Lee.