Hurricane Maria isn’t done with us yet, but her bite has softened up a good deal.
According to NOAA meteorologist Hal Austin, the Sun Journal coverage area will deal with strong wind gusts as high as 45 mph, in some areas, through Wednesday.
“We’re looking for some pretty gusty winds today through Wednesday night,” he said. In New Bern those gusts will not top 25 mph, but closer to the sounds the winds will approach and possibly meet the 45 mph barrier that gets it labeled as a tropical storm.
Among the areas to get the higher winds are Harlowe and Oriental.
Rain effects from Maria, however, will be insignificant, with a few scattered showers possible through Thursday night.
Flooding – a result of the storm surge rather than rain – will also be minimal in the immediate area, though the end of Pamlico Sound, he said, could see flooding events of 2- to 4 feet and the lower Neuse, on the southern end of Craven Pamlico County, could see the same surge on the north and northeast shorlines of the Neuse.
Maria’s effects are greater on the outer banks with tropical storm warnings being issued across the islands and storm surge warnings being issued from Cape Hatteras to Duck.
Evacuation of all nonresidents have been issued for Ocracoke and for Dare County.
Maria, still listed as a large category 1 storm, is crawling slowly, paralleling the east coast and about 150 miles to sea. At its center it is stirring up 40-foot waves, with hurricane force winds extending 105 miles, and tropical storm force winds extending as far as 240 miles.
The storm is expected to be downgraded by sometime within the next couple of days. On Thursday it is expected to turn more sharply north and east, pushed by a upper trough, according to Austin.
For the time being, at least, he said, there doesn’t seem to be any other storm trouble brewing of any local concern.
Hurricanes peak around September 10, but are still likely through late October. Hurricane season officially ends November 30.