While Maria still has the potential to come close to the East Coast, the core of the hurricane is most likely to remain offshore through next week, AccuWeather.com said in a new update early Friday afternoon.
Maria already turned on a more northerly course near the Turks and Caicos on Friday. From its position on Friday morning, Maria was about 650 miles southeast of Miami and was on the same parallel as Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Confidence continues to grow that Maria will not make landfall on the U.S. mainland, according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.
Since Maria will be moving over waters churned up and cooled by Jose in recent days, its strength may be capped near Category 3 hurricane status. A Category 3 hurricane has maximum sustained winds of 111 to 129 miles per hour.
"Maria should be steered on a general northerly course this weekend into the start of next week," Kottlowski said. "This northerly path is likely to be followed by a northeasterly turn."
After making landfall in Puerto Rico on Wednesday morning, Maria weakened but grew in size. Some additional change in structure and increase in size may occur as the hurricane moves northward into progressively cooler waters, Kottlowski said.
During the middle to latter part of next week, steering winds may weaken enough to slow the forward speed of Maria. It is during this time when Maria may attempt to drift farther west and may cause some rain and gusty winds to reach the North Carolina Outer Banks.
Even if Maria takes the most likely path just offshore of the East Coast, surf and rip currents will increase from south to north along the Atlantic Seaboard this weekend through next week.
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