🌀 Maria’s track will get near the Mid-Atlantic coast

Posted at 10:26 AM, Sep 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-24 10:57:01-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Hurricane Maria is located northeast of the Bahamas and is moving slowly to the north.

If you look at the atmosphere like a highway of sorts, there are many obstacles that Maria will maneuver around.  The main factors will be areas of high pressure across the northeastern United States and the Atlantic.  The strength and position of these two highs will push Maria back and forth.

Adding to this is that the steering winds where Maria will be are not that strong, so the storm will drift versus trudging ahead at a faster speed.  What all of this means is that the forecast track for Maria in the Tuesday-Thursday time frame may change some more.

The official track from the National Hurricane Center keeps the center off the Mid-Atlantic coast, but the "cone of uncertainty" does include the Outer Banks.

While many computer models keep the center well offshore, some recent runs of a few models do bring Maria near the Outer Banks.  With all of the factors considered, odds of a landfall in eastern North Carolina are not very high, but the storm will likely come fairly close to the coast.  This would mean the potential for winds in excess of 50 mph there.

Waves, rip currents and erosion will be the primary impact for the Outer Banks, where waves may exceed 25 feet.  Waves at Virginia Beach may exceed 15 feet, and winds could gust over 30 mph.  Areas near the Bay could experience some coastal flooding during high tide cycles.

For the Richmond metro area, unless the storm takes a farther westward track, the highest wind gusts would stay below 30 mph.  There will be the chance for a few light showers, mostly east and southeast of downtown, from Tuesday evening through Thursday morning.

A cold front and a dip in the jet stream will both bring cooler weather to our area later in the week, but it will also help knock Maria away from the coast.

Any significant westward shift in the track will increase the impacts to the Outer Banks, Virginia Beach and areas near the Bay.  Updates to the track forecast will be posted frequently on our weather page and in the CBS 6 Hurricane Tracker.

Stay with CBS 6, The Weather Authority.

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